Emergency notification sounds off

The new emergency contact system has now been installed throughout the entire university. The system is called the MiR3 and it is a two-way notification system that will alert students and faculty in the situation

The new emergency contact system has now been installed throughout the entire university.

The system is called the MiR3 and it is a two-way notification system that will alert students and faculty in the situation of any campus-wide threat.

This alert will be disseminated through the university by e-mails, voice mails and text messages.

Although Temple’s Main Campus is one of the safest urban colleges in the country, associate vice president of communications Mark Eyerly said he is aware of the constant changing concerns of safety.

“We’re always continually evaluating our processes to see if there are things we can do to make it a more safe place,” Eyerly said.

This is the reason Temple, along with other universities such as the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University, has purchased the MiR3 for an undisclosed price.

At New York City’s St. John’s University campus in Queens, the same campus-alert system has proven to be effective.

Authorities were alerted on Sept. 26, 2007 when a masked man carrying a rifle entered St. John’s campus.

The school’s vice president then disseminated a campus-wide alert through text messages advising people to remain where they are or to get indoors.

The masked gunman was subdued by local authorities and then students and faculty were given the all-clear.

This system helped alert students and faculty to the situation keeping them free from harm.

Timothy O’Rourke, Temple’s vice president for computer services, said he is extremely adamant about having students register their contact information with the MiR3 system.

“This is an extremely important tool, and it does no good if you’re not signed up for it,” O’Rourke said.

Of the approximate 42,755 people attending Temple this semester worldwide, only 5,800 have registered with the system as of noon on Oct. 31.

Though this is most important for campus safety, it is also planned to be used to show school cancellations due to inclement weather and other unexpected reasons.

But with only such a small percent of students registering since the campus-wide email from Temple President Ann Weaver Hart, the positive effects of the MiR3 are extremely limited.

“It takes you 30 seconds,” O’Rourke said regarding the time it takes to register yourself for Temple’s new emergency notification system.

O’Rourke said he believes that until a much larger percentage of students and faculty register for Temple’s new MiR3 campus alert system, the university’s population will be at greater risk of an imminent threat without notification.

The first emergency notification was disseminated throughout Temple’s campus by an e-mail from Clarence Armbrister, Temple’s executive vice president, after a student was assaulted in Anderson Hall between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday evening.

The alert was issued at 12:25 a.m. on Friday, and over the span of the next 55 minutes, it was distributed to approximately all 42,000 e-mail accounts of Temple’s population.

The staffs at the Executive Office and the Communications Office were willing to make any statements regarding the assault that took place on Thursday evening, but O’Rourke and Armbrister are saying the systematic goal of MiR3 was a success.

“We’re happy it works as it was described,” Armbrister said. “We do plan to test it.”

The test will be using the text-messaging service, phone calls and e-mail to let students know the service is active, and it will say that it is only a test in the message to not cause a panic.

“We encourage staff, faculty and students to register on the system,” Armbrister said.

In the event of an immediate threat, the MiR3 system is the fastest way for all of Temple’s population to be alerted, Armbrister said.

“I didn’t associate that with any danger to me,” freshman elementary education major Tamara Golden said about the e-mail alert. “Nothing changed.”

After receiving the e-mail alert, Golden said she did not feel any safer being on campus.

“I didn’t really get consciously freaked out,” she said

Although Golden read the MiR3 system’s e-mail, the situation did not change for her.

“It will let students know what’s happening,” said Golden, but said she does not think this will increase safety and security on Temple’s campus.

If you see something suspicious, do not wait for a message from the MiR3, officials say. Call Campus Police at 215-204-1234.

Daniel Weisbein can be reached at dweis@temple.edu.