Nearly 4,800 don’t receive emergency notifications

By Nick Dean
Editor in Chief

An incomplete file uploaded to the university’s alert system failed to notify nearly 4,800 students during Tuesday’s on-campus manhunt that resulted in the arrest of one of two suspects in two local robberies.

Baylor’s alert system was initiated at 11:15 p.m. Monday, telling all recipients to remain indoors until further notice because two armed men were on campus.

“We activated it pretty quick after we realized what was happening and we had the big picture,” Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said in an interview with the Baylor Lariat.

“I am aware that there are a number of people that did not receive it.”

Doak said his department worked with Baylor Information Technology Services on the lack of notifications.

Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, said Baylor’s risk management department conducted an investigation Tuesday resulting in the discovery of an incomplete file used as the directory for the alert system.

“An incomplete file — containing students’ names, numbers and e-mails — was selected for uploading into our notification system,” Fogleman said in an interview with the Lariat.

“As a result, some students were left out of the notifications last night.”

Fogleman said that despite the incomplete information in the file, students still followed instructions and some informed others.

“Even though, unfortunately, a segment did not get to all of our students, the system did work and students heeded the warning and that was very much appreciated by police,” Fogleman said.

“Students that did receive the message started to use their own network — like Twitter and Facebook — to help to spread the word.”

One of the nearly 4,800 uninformed, The Woodlands freshman Margie McGregor was told about the incident by her suitemate in Brooks Residential College Monday night.

“After [my suitemate] told me, I got on Facebook and obviously it was all over Facebook,” McGregor said.

McGregor had her current contact information on Bearweb and said she felt lucky she was in her dorm room and had a suitemate to know what was going on during the manhunt.

“It kind of concerns me,” she said. “What if I was the kind of person that doesn’t know a lot of people? How would I have found out? Or, what if I was off-campus and alone?”

Currently, Baylor’s alert system is manually updated on a weekly basis. This seven-day lag in an information update does not keep the system constantly complete.

“We are working toward, what is probably the important thing, which is to automate the import process to run every day and moving away from a weekly manual report,” Fogleman said.

Until the switch to a fully automatic, constantly updating system is made, the university plans to make sure the schedule to update the system does not fall on any university holidays.

To update emergency notification on Bearweb, check the “view address(es) and phone(s)” link under the “personal information” tab.