Officials urge Tech employees, students to register with notification system

Sep 5, 2013 | General News

In March, it warned students, faculty and staff about dangerous weather. In May, it reported suspicious activity. In July, it notified individuals about a fire in Keeny Hall.
Louisiana Tech’s Emergency Notification System has been utilized to assist the university community about dangerous situations, and people have the opportunity to be alerted any time hazards are around.
“Our ENS provides us with an option for quickly alerting the campus community, in the event of a campus emergency, via text messaging to their cell phones,” said Dave Guerin, director of university communications. “The vast majority of our students, faculty and staff carry their cell phones with them everywhere they go, so the ENS becomes the most immediate and responsive means we have to communicate during a crisis.”
Tech’s chief of police, Randal Hermes, said students could sign up on their BOSS account and have the option of having the alerts sent as a text message or a phone call to a landline.
“Even if they’re not here and they’re on their way to campus, if something’s going on over here, they need to know,” Hermes said. “They can take whatever action is best in their situation. We’re all about sharing information.”
Tech’s ENS is an opt-in system, meaning that students and employees have to sign up for the alerts.
“There are a couple of reasons that Louisiana Tech’s ENS in opt-in,” Guerin said. “One is that some people are not comfortable with giving out their cell numbers or are concerned about receiving ‘junk texts,’ and we felt it best to give those who wanted to participate the opportunity to do so rather than try to force their information into it.  Another reason is that some cellular plans charge a fee for each text received or sent, and we didn’t want users to incur a charge for a service they might not have wanted.  Also, some of the opt-out systems that require data to be entered end up receiving a volume of invalid cell numbers and information, which can cause a slower and less responsive system.”
Also, Hermes said students could sign up to five other individuals up for the notifications.
“It’s a big deal that they can include their family,” Hermes said. “Especially for the parents who aren’t around here, they want to know what’s going on here.”
Hermes and Guerin both said there is no reason not to be enrolled in the ENS.
“I believe the only negative to the ENS is not enrolling in it,” Guerin said. “It is not used for any other purpose than to alert the campus community of pending dangers or situations where caution must be exercised. With the number of incidents that have taken place on campuses across the country over the past several years, enrollment in the ENS should be as important as buying books or registering for classes.”