Emergency alerts lacking speed

In the wake of last week’s shootings at Virginia Tech, it seems like most schools, including our own, would have learned why it is so important to communicate effectively if there is the threat of danger.

Too bad not even one week later the University of La Verne was faced with a situation where students should have been notified immediately but were instead left in the dark.

On April 20, the eighth anniversary of the Columbine shootings and just four days after the tragedy at Virginia, Bonita High School was closed due to a continuing investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department involving a Bonita student, Matthew Wanamaker.

The 17-year-old had stolen guns from his home in La Verne and disappeared Thursday evening, which lead to the closure of the school the next day. Luckily, late Saturday night, police found Wanamaker and the firearms in an Ontario motel.

Now we all know the location of Bonita in relationship to ULV and it would seem logical to think any threat to Bonita is a threat to ULV.

Well that is why when word of the potential threat got out on Thursday night, ULV students were making phone calls to warn their friends about the situation. The Thursday night Campus Activities Board Suburban Legends concert was even alerted.

We all know how fast news travels in La Verne simply by word of mouth so students across the campus were buzzing with information.

The only problem was there was no notification of the potential problem by the University.

It was not until nearly 11 a.m. Friday when a school wide e-mail went out to the students. However, classes at ULV start at 8 a.m., so most students did not become aware of the threat until they arrived at school and were told by a classmate.

Why wasn’t this e-mail sent earlier before students arrived on campus for morning and afternoon classes?

Although there was no suspected danger toward ULV according to the mass e-mail, students should have still should have been made aware of the possibility. Did we learn anything from the devastation of last week at Virginia Tech?

In light of the situation, was the mass e-mail even enough?

Before this year’s implementations of e-mail logins for computer use, many students did not have their own school e-mail accounts activated.

The majority of students fail to open even their own personal e-mail accounts more than once or twice a day, let alone their ULV accounts.

Schools need to devise a way to reach students through other means such as Facebook and MySpace. If a massive bulletin or message was sent to all students, plus the mass e-mail, students would be way more likely to actually receive the news.

Measures need to be taken for students to feel safe and secure, and because we are such a small community it would be easy for the University to take these steps.

Our central campus student population does not make up a quarter of the students at Virginia Tech. As a result, it is best for students to know rather than be sorry.

Perhaps, as students we need to be more avid e-mail checkers, yet the problem still remains that important e-mails are sent with no time to act.

Luckily we did have not have to face any repercussions because of this late message.

But to our Campus safety officials and our La Verne police department, we urge you to work together to inform students by any means possible and as soon as possible.

By teaming up and working together, there is no question we can at least be aware of potential risks closer to home and take steps in preventing a disaster here at our own school.

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Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.

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