University of California, Riverside

Emergency Notification System



Archived Announcements


Editorial: Highlander

April 15, 2008

Emergency notification means UCR cares

In the newest string of attempts to make UCR a safer campus, Acting Chancellor Robert Grey has implemented a mandatory opt-in, opt-out option for the school's newest emergency notification system. The option, which blocks student access to GROWL until students actually fill out their emergency contact information, is not only a positive step toward safety on the campus, but it also gives UCR the aura of wanting to protect students at all costs.

The new system which began on March 22, marks the first time the campus has attempted to force students to take a priority in ensuring their safety at Riverside. By proxy of the fact that all students at one time or another, need to access GROWL in order to register for classes or check their grades, the school has effectively cornered students into making a choice for the new system.

It's ingenious, really, and it should prove to be incredibly effective. Given the tragedies in recent years at colleges like Virginia Tech, the demand for school-wide safety systems has skyrocketed. Further, as Grey says, the system "enables rapid emergency notification to the entire campus community via...text messaging, e-mail, and voice mail," ensuring that the system has the capability to reach all students on the campus if a large scale crisis occurs.

Of course, like Grey says, "no system of communication is guaranteed to reach every individual under every set of circumstances." For instance, because the option to join the system or not will be given to every student on campus, there is a very slim chance that every person will choose to be involved. In addition, the notification system is effectively nullified for a student without immediate access to a computer, or with a dead cell-phone battery.

In truth, though there really is no way for the system to be perfectly implemented so that all students are equally protected in case of a crisis. With the current technology available to students, the school has taken what is by far the safest approach to ensure that the most students as possible can and will be notified, and that's worthy of praise.

It's gratifying that the school has chosen to take such a forceful step toward protecting students. In fact, the system that UCR is using is almost complete copy of the same one that Virginia Tech has implemented on its campus, whereby messages are sent to students through a third-party vendor. This ensures that students will get the notifications even if a complete technological meltdown occurs on campus.
This school still has some bugs and testing to go through before the system is perfectly integrated, but the fact that UCR has taken such measures to create a well-equipped system should prove invaluable for years to come. True, it doesn't necessarily prevent any further catastrophes from occurring, but this is probably the best substitute students will probably be able to get.

With this, it can only be hoped that the school continues to put students first when making decisions on how best to serve the campus community at large. However, with the promise of other safety measures, in addition to further assessment and development of communication technology, it doesn't seem like that will be much of an issue.

Highlander editorials reflect the majority view of the Highlander Editorial Board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Associated Students of UCR or the University of California system.

Announcement to Students from Acting Chancellor Grey

02/2008

Dear Students,

As chancellor, one of my foremost responsibilities is the safety of our campus. I am therefore writing to apprise you of steps we are taking to implement the new emergency notification system. This service enables rapid emergency communications to the entire campus community via a variety of technologies, including text messaging, e-mail, and voice mail. For the system to be effective requires the active participation of every member of our UCR community.

We have previously encouraged you to sign up by providing your personal communication information. While the voluntary response has been encouraging, it has fallen far short of the level required to achieve the level of safety we all want. If you followed the news of the recent tragedy at Northern Illinois University, you know that that campus’ emergency notification system functioned to provide the entire campus community with updates every 15 minutes. UCR, too, has that capacity for notification, but it will work only if all members of our campus community have joined the system.

I have therefore asked our emergency planners to develop an approach that will assure that every student, staff, and faculty member is offered a choice to either “Opt In” or “Opt Out” of this service. This means that you simply visit the following web site, log in, and make a decision about participating in UCR’s emergency notification system. I encourage you to take a moment and do so now:

http://growl.ucr.edu

Beginning March 22nd of this year, when students sign on to GROWL, a formal emergency notification system opt-in or opt-out decision will be required prior to proceeding with your online activity. If you have already elected an option, you will be allowed to proceed with your transaction. Otherwise, you will be prompted to make a choice.

Over the course of the coming months, we will be testing the system to ensure that it works. We will do this incrementally, with adequate notice to assure that we do not inadvertently cause alarm. More details of that testing will be provided in the near future.

No system of communication is guaranteed to reach every individual under every set of circumstances, so we will continue to assess our communication strategies over time and augment our capabilities as we believe it would benefit the campus. In addition, we continue to implement other safety measures, as described below.

I thank you for taking a moment to sign up for the best system currently at our disposal.

Sincerely,

Robert D. Grey

Acting Chancellor

Announcement to Staff from Acting Chancellor Grey

02/27/2008

Dear Faculty and Staff:

As chancellor, one of my foremost responsibilities is the safety of our campus. I am therefore writing to apprise you of steps we are taking to implement the new emergency notification system. This service enables rapid emergency communications to the entire campus community via a variety of technologies, including text messaging, e-mail, and voice mail. For the system to be effective the active participation of every member of our UCR community is essential.

We have previously encouraged you to sign up by providing your personal communication information. While the voluntary response has been encouraging, it has fallen far short of the level required to achieve the level of safety we all want. If you followed the news of the recent tragedy at Northern Illinois University, you know that that campus’ emergency notification system functioned to provide the entire campus community with updates every 15 minutes. UCR, too, has that capacity for notification, but it will work only if all members of our campus community have joined the system.

I have therefore asked our emergency planners to develop an approach that will assure that every student, staff, and faculty member is offered a choice to either “opt in” or “opt out” of this service. This means that you simply visit the following web site, log in, and make a decision about participating in UCR’s emergency notification system. I encourage you to take a moment and do so now:

http://emergencyregistration.ucr.edu/

On May 5th of this year, faculty and staff who have not made an opt-in or opt-out decision will be required to do so when logging into various campus on-line business systems. If you have already elected an option, you will be allowed to proceed with your transaction. Otherwise, you will be prompted to make a choice. We are mindful that not all of you have regular need for access to our on line systems, so special provisions will be put in place to assure that everyone is offered the same opportunity.

Over the course of the coming months, we will be testing the system to ensure that it works. We will do this incrementally, with adequate notice to assure that we do not inadvertently cause alarm. More details of that testing will be provided in the near future.

No system of communication is guaranteed to reach every individual under every set of circumstances, so we will continue to assess our communication strategies over time and augment our capabilities as we believe it would benefit the campus. In addition, we continue to implement other safety measures, as described in the attachment.

I thank you for taking a moment to sign up for the best system currently at our disposal.

Sincerely,

Robert D. Grey

Acting Chancellor

Announcement from the Vice Chancellor Administration

11/07/2007

Dear UCR Faculty, Staff, and Students,

The University of California, Riverside is committed to providing a safe and secure environment to campus students, faculty, staff, and visitors. UCR engages in a broad array of activities supporting this goal, including comprehensive training for police and other safety related personnel, disaster and emergency preparedness planning, as well as a host of other activities aimed at preventing problems before they occur.

To enhance UCR's emergency preparedness, the campus has launched a new emergency notification system. This new system will build on existing methods of information distribution and communication, and will greatly expand UCR's ability to quickly and reliably communicate with students, staff, and faculty in an emergency.

The initial deployment of the new system will focus on emergency text messaging. In a crisis, this mode of communication will serve as a reliable tool enabling UCR police and safety personnel to contact the entire campus community. For more information concerning UCR's emergency notification system, please visit http://emergencynotification.ucr.edu/ .

Please recall that campus safety is a collective concern and responsibility. We are therefore asking all faculty, staff, students, emeriti, and affiliates to actively participate in this program and provide UCR the data campus safety professionals need to contact you in an emergency. You can sign up for the program as follows:

Faculty, Staff, Emeriti, and Affiliates please visit the following web address:

http://emergencyregistration.ucr.edu/

Students should visit GROWL and click on the Addresses link (there will be additional instructions posted on the GROWL web site).

If you have any questions or comments concerning UCR's emergency notification system, please e-mail emergencynotification@ucr.edu or contact Paul Walker, Environmental Health & Safety (at paul.walker@ucr.edu). Thank you in advance for helping make UCR a safer place to learn, work, and grow.

Al Diaz

Vice Chancellor Administration

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Computing & Communications
Computing & Communications Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-4741
Fax: (951) 827-4541
E-mail: emergencynotification@ucr.edu

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