DENVER (CBS4)– Campus alert systems have been credited with getting the word out about threats at two university campuses on Friday, the University of Texas and North Dakota State University. Universities in Colorado have similar systems.
Many universities across the state were watching the situation unfold as they increased their campus security. They were on an elevated alert for what was called out-of-the-ordinary behavior.
“We want to make sure our officers are available, that they have a noticeable presence, just to make sure we have that extra level of awareness,” said Auraria Higher Education Center spokesman Blaine Nickerson.
The threats in Texas and North Dakota didn’t derail classes on university campuses in Colorado. If a threat did occur officials said getting the message out would be easy by texting students.
The Auraria Campus said students could receive an emergency alert text message within 30 seconds. Of the nearly 43,000 students on the campus, less than half are set up to get the emergency alerts.
“You may not have 100 percent of people signed up in the system but within a classroom you only need one because they’ll let everyone else know,” said Nickerson.
Warning programs went into effect on college campuses across the U.S. after the 2007 deadly shooting at Virginia Tech.
Most universities in Colorado use a handful of methods to inform students. Alerts are sent via email, text alert and sometimes phone calls.
Last week, 20,000 students on the Auraria Campus were warned of an indecent exposure suspect nearby.
“They were just warning to look out for the suspect, the description, where they saw him and stuff like that,” said one student.
When asked if he would know what to if an emergency situation was going on, one student replied, “I think so. Word of mouth, email, text alerts.”
Police chiefs from all Denver metro area campuses had previously scheduled a meeting for Friday. They talked about the actions they would take during an emergency situation. They said if a threat did occur, they would likely pool resources.