Regents Urge Action From Task Force Studying Alert Systems - Higher Education

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Regents Urge Action From Task Force Studying Alert Systems

by Associated Press

BATON ROUGE La.

Six months after 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus were murdered by a gunman, LSU and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are struggling to sign students up for cell phone emergency text messaging systems.

Students cite general apathy and invasions of privacy for not registering for the service.

“I just didn’t think it was necessary,” said LSU sophomore Desiree Joseph of Baton Rouge, noting that she would rather not have LSU messages on her personal phone.

“I’d rather stick with e-mail,” she said.

LSU was the first public college in the state to implement a text messaging alert, and UL-Lafayette followed suit last month. All the other public colleges in Louisiana are waiting on a text system being done through the Louisiana Board of Regents, which oversees all public higher education.

But the Regents system may not be ready to go until late spring, said Mike Abbiatti, a Regents associate commissioner for information and learning technology. Until then, the state is focusing on completing “active shooter training” with college police and doing safety inventories.

Abbiatti said some students are paranoid about colleges contacting their personal phones. “Students are a little leery, in some circumstances, of allowing the adults to play in that arena,” he said. Not all students have free messaging, Abbiatti added, and many students do not want to be interrupted during classes.

“It has a place, but it’s not the savior of the world,” Joey Pons, ULL safety director, said. He noted that the campus also is using emergency radios, e-mail alerts and a phone hotline.

ULL has registered 10 percent of students in about one month, Pons said, promoting the sign-up site, http://www.ul.mobilecampus.com. LSU has signed up about 30 percent of the campus students, faculty and staff in five months thus far. But LSU Police Chief Ricky Adams said he had expected more than 50 percent participation thus far.

Information from: The Advocate, http://www.2theadvocate.com



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