On Thursday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, Steve Kazmierczak opened fire on his fellow Northern Illinois University students, killing five and injuring 16 before turning his weapon on himself.
On Friday, Feb. 8, Temple tested TU-Alert, its new emergency alert system designed for situations exactly like the tragedy at NIU.
NIU has a similar emergency notification system and used it after the shooting. According to the New York Times, the first text message alert read, “There has been a report of a possible gunman on campus. Get to a safe area and take precautions until given the all clear. Avoid the King Commons and all buildings in that vicinity.”
After the incident was over, the university issued another message stating, “Campus police report that the immediate danger has passed. The gunman is no longer a threat.”
While Temple’s alert was just a test, the events at NIU timely illustrate how universities plan to notify students of future emergencies. While the NIU messages were cryptic, the university should be given credit for giving students as much information as the possible. One can only hope that if Temple ever needs to use its alert system, its messages will be as specific.
However, as The Temple News reports this week, only 25 percent of the Temple population has signed up to receive alerts. Although any alert will be sent to every Temple e-mail address, the immediacy of a phone call or text message is the real benefit to this kind of alert system.
Although Temple has publicized the alert to an extent, it should put the word out again on a broader scale in the wake of the tragedy at NIU, showing students how important that text message might be in the future.