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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

University Police Department informs students and faculty of new alert system

Éstom Jámani Hall. Photo taken By Grace Stark.

The University Police Department sent an email Aug.31, informing students of the schools new alert system. The new opt-out system will alert students and employees of emergencies in real-time.

After a suspect was arrested on suspicion of brandishing a weapon on campus on Aug. 23, students believe that a new alert system is crucial for their safety, especially for those living on campus.

Freshmen students Natalie Erazo and Vanessa Desmarets are roommates living in Éstom Jámani Hall and were in class when the incident occurred. Both said they received the email informing students of the incident hours later and had to notify their parents about it.

“It definitely had my parents questioning the school’s safety,” Erazo said.

Created with the help of the IT and Environmental Health and Safety teams, the new system contains improvements that will better inform students of emergencies. Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Marvin Pratt, said the improvements to the system will maximize its ability to notify students promptly, so they can properly take action to stay safe.

The system automatically collects contact information from the Chico State Account Center and gives students the opportunity to have several different contact points such as text, voice and email. 

Students can add notification contacts such as parents and family members so they can also be notified during an emergency.

Desmarets said the improvements to the new alert system give her and her parents peace of mind “especially now that we have the option to include our parents so that they are well informed.”

Along with updated alert systems the university plans to install desktop alerts on all IT-managed desktops and laptops. 

This includes monitors and projectors in lecture rooms, computers in computer labs, offices and more. In case of an emergency, all active computers will receive a full-screen alert with information regarding the incident.

Pratt also stated that messages can now be sent in different languages including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Hmong Daw and Spanish. 

“This could help members of our community to better understand the actions they need to take to maintain their safety,” Pratt said.

The university plans to eventually offer opt-in codes for visitors, so individuals visiting campus for activities like orientation, Choose Chico and commencement can opt-in to receive alerts for a limited amount of time. 

The university will run tests on the new Chico State Alerts System in September and plans to release more information soon.

Grace Stark can be reached at [email protected]

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