CMU emergency notifications don’t reach everyone

Credit: Josh Smith/Forum Editor Credit: Josh Smith/Forum Editor

A great deal of attention has turned to college campus security in Pittsburgh over the past month.

On March 8, tragedy struck the University of Pittsburgh’s campus when a man opened fire in the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, killing one and injuring seven before being killed by University of Pittsburgh police.

Between March 14 and March 22, three bomb threats occurred at the Cathedral of Learning, with mandatory evacuations and searches concluding each one was a false threat. Almost one month ago, Carnegie Mellon had a bomb scare, with Warner Hall and Smith Hall being evacuated.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the campus police of Carnegie Mellon and Pitt. However, there were problems with the CMU ALERT Emergency Notification Service (ENS) that led to some students not receiving warnings for some emergencies. This problem needs to be fixed so that students are aware of these situations, especially since many live in Oakland.

While some students and faculty received an alert by text or voice recording from the CMU ALERT ENS after the March 8 shooting, for others the only official notification they received was an email from President Jared Cohon a day later expressing his condolences for the victims of the shooting and thanking the city and campus police.

For a period of time on March 8, the whereabouts and location of the shooter were unknown, which led the city police to block portions of the campus. Central Catholic High School on Fifth Avenue was put on a lockdown.

It is a serious issue when students who are signed up to receive these alerts have no indication that an emergency is occurring near where they live.

When there are students living in Carnegie Mellon housing mere blocks away from a potential shooter on the run, they should be notified of the risks. While a message was sent, it was not received by everyone signed up for the service. The number of Carnegie Mellon students who reside in Oakland warrants more notifications for emergencies at Pitt, and the technical issues that occurring with the CMU ALERT ENS need to be resolved.