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The Antelope

The Antelope

Campus alert system should be utilized more often

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On Aug. 22, the Kearney Police Department investigated a report regarding a potential threat to Kearney schools and UNK. Students received an email the following day which deemed that there was no credible threat to UNK. 

While we understand that the situation was determined to be unsubstantiated, The Antelope is still concerned about the lack of consistency with the alert.

A few of our staff members reported never receiving the message. Another staff member received the email alert but wasn’t notified by the Outlook app of the message. The app had sorted the message into the “other” inbox, which doesn’t send notifications through the phone.

When potentially threatening conditions arise, students should receive a message in the most accessible way.

A few other incidents occurred near UNK during finals week of the 2023 spring semester. In the span of four days, a stabbing and three shootings took place within a few blocks of campus. During this time, students were made aware of the incidents by email.

The Antelope believes alerting students through email is not the most effective option. 

We think students are more likely to see an alert through a text message or phone call over an email. Not all students have their email connected to their phone, and in the most recent case, not all of UNK students’ emails notified them about the alert.

Our staff acknowledges other safety measures taken by UNK including increased security at graduation following the incidents in May. This included limiting which doors of the Health and Sports Center the public could enter, inspecting bags upon entry and releasing a list of prohibited items.

The Antelope also recognizes the UNKAlert system already in place. According to UNK’s website, the alert system notifies students if campus is “impacted by a significant emergency or dangerous situation which involves the immediate threat to the health and safety of the campus community.” 

While using phone calls for immediate and emergency situations is good, we encourage greater use of the UNKAlert system through text messages. Situations similar to the recent not credible threat could be communicated to students better through texts. 

Whether or not a situation becomes an emergency or dangerous, students should be aware as soon as possible. While we see the importance of not creating panic, it is also important to keep students informed about what is going on while it is happening. 

Ensuring students are aware of potentially dangerous situations on or near campus can help them make the best choices for their own safety. If more dangerous situations occur and increased alerts are not implemented, it could be detrimental to students and the community.

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