ECU: Human Error In Campus Text Alert Not Reaching Student Cell Phones

East Carolina University says it's putting another set of eyes on emergency text alerts. This after text message alerts for Wednesday's lockdown failed to reach students' cell phones.

ECU says a drop down box to send the text message alert to student cell phones was inadvertently not checked before the alert went out. The campus was placed on lockdown after there were reports of a gunman walking toward the university. That gun turned out to be a student's umbrella.

“A check box was missed while initiating the notification,” said Associate Vice Chancellor Bill Koch. “As a result of our review, we will have at least one additional person look at texts before they are sent.” The university says all other portions of their alert system worked.

The university is also investigating reports that some faculty members had left students in classrooms during the lockdown. “It is clearly inappropriate for faculty members to leave during a lockdown,” said Provost Marilyn Sheerer.

ECU says faculty who did not remain with students and who have been identified will be counseled. The university says it's still investigating how many teachers left their students in the classroom alone.


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  • by JusticeForAll on Nov 19, 2011 at 04:48 PM
    So lets get this straight... First, the GPD identified an umbrella in a backpack as an AR-15 being carried in someone's hand... Second. the Emergency TXT Alert didn't go out in a timely manner... Third, over 60 LEOs were deployed onto campus in full "battle rattle" with guns drawn and 2 helicopters put in the air--over an UMBRELLA... Somebody at GPD needs to lose their job over this one. And all this is because someone at ECU is living under teh delusion that the police have some sort of duty to "protect" students--which is patently false. The Police have NO DUTY or legal obligation to protect individual citizens. What is MOST disturbing about this entire story is that the students and faculty are PROHIBITED by law from providing for their own self-defense--even those with training and qualifications to do so ANYWHERE else in NC...
  • by Steve Location: Ayden on Nov 18, 2011 at 08:18 PM
    The fact that the "gunman" was locked in a classroom with students shows a massive failure by ECU and the police.
    • reply
      by JusticeForAll on Nov 19, 2011 at 04:41 PM in reply to Steve
      Actually, the "gunbrella man" was in the cafeteria, eating lunch...
  • by Grumpy Location: G'Vegas on Nov 18, 2011 at 04:13 PM
    Good drill. No Script !!!
  • by ECU Location: Teacher on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:42 PM
    On the other hand, a former student called me from California. He'd received a text. My son, who had already graduated, also received a text.
  • by Tired of complaints Location: Snow Hill on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:27 PM
    You defend some stupid teacher for letting their students out of the classroom during a lockdown, this is probably why "half of the campus was wandering free," but then you ask where to take shelter if your walking across campus. Do you have any sense? You all complain, complain, and complain. How about apreciate the fact that the ECU police and GPD were doing their JOB. Technical difficulties DO happen! Just shut up about it already and let the school admin handle their own problems.
  • by Stew Dent Location: Gville on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM
    Hey ECU Mom, Where was your son "on his way to class?" Driving there because maybe he was late? Well ok... If he was walking to campus, your son must have had his iPod turned up so loud he'll need a hearing aid soon. The loudspeakers were blaring everywhere -- you could hear them in or out of the buildings. He also might have wondered why it looked like a ghost town.
  • by ECU MOM on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:08 PM
    When I heard the news on the radio I called my son who is an ECU student on his way to class. He did not receive any info from ECU. ECU FAILED!!!!!!!
    • reply
      by Mom? on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:05 PM in reply to ECU MOM
      Your son is an adult, please stop over-protecting him and delaying his maturity with your over-mama drama. Thank you. Sincerely, Your Adult Son
    • reply
      by to ECU MOM on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:31 PM in reply to ECU MOM
      please let your child know if he took out his ipod earphones... he would have heard the loud speakers blaring to seek shelter
    • reply
      by Huh? on Nov 18, 2011 at 04:11 PM in reply to ECU MOM
      Is your son an adult or a babbling infant?! One of my sons, age 20, is at this very minute serving in Afghanistan facing real AK47's, etc., and not an umbrella. No text message from ECU and you are up in arms in horror? Give us a break and give your son a little more credit and responsibility than to be writing your histrionics here. He's an adult, please learn to accept this and let him grow up. He could be in a much more dangerous situation than attending ECU. Perspective, people, perspective!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM
    My son said that half of the campus was wandering free. What if this had been real and like Tech where started one place ended in another. Also saw the ECU Chief outside with no vest on. Does anyone take safety serious at ECU? Fire the person who said it was rifle! Fire the person who messed up the text message! Fire person in charge of mess ups! Praise the line officers who did what they were told and acted in best interests of kids. There was no overreaction to the information, but the people who send wrong information or who cannot send a text need to go.
    • reply
      by Huh on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:10 PM in reply to
      How do you fire a person who called in a man with a gun? That doesn't make any sense.
  • by ECUprof Location: greenville on Nov 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM
    Why is this even an option that needs to be checked? Shouldn't all alerts automatically go out to all cell phones?
  • by TEEJ Location: Greenville on Nov 18, 2011 at 11:41 AM
    Some professors let students go because their classroom doors do not lock. They said that it wasn't legal to keep them because of the lack of safety of the room. ECU, can we get the capability to lock all classroom doors in case this ever happens for real? I would hate to be in a classroom and not be able to fend off a would-be gunman. Also, will you tell us where we should go if we are walking across campus. I have no idea where I would take shelter if I wasn't already in a room.
    • reply
      by agreed on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:50 PM in reply to TEEJ
      you should bring these concerns to ECU, WITN's comment wall won't make a difference to things actually being heard.
    • reply
      by Biscuit on Nov 18, 2011 at 04:23 PM in reply to TEEJ
      If anyone things that the police can force 27,000 students and several thousand faculty members to comply with the policy to stay in the classrooms, they are sadly mistaken. Never gonna happen, I don't care if you had 5000 cops respond, there is no way to keep those kids locked in the classrooms. Besides, it wouldn't be legal to do so unless the Mayor declared a n emergency curfew. Cops (and certainly not faculty members) cannot put people in custody against their will unless they have broken a law. It's called reality people.
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