An emergency test gone awry

Last week, officials at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina conducted a drill to test the campus’s emergency response system. But the drill was apparently a little too real, and students and faculty were apparently unprepared. The Charlotte Observer reports that the test terrified students.

Here’s how it played out, according to the Observer report:

Last Friday, an intruder entered a classroom in Moore Hall at Elizabeth City State University and pointed what appeared to be a gun at assistant professor Jingbin Wang.

The man ordered students in Wang’s American foreign policy class to line up against a wall and threatened to kill the student with the lowest grade-point average.

“I was prepared to die,” Wang recalled this week.

Ten minutes after the siege began, police stormed the class and subdued the intruder. His weapon, it turned out, was red and plastic — a fake. So was the entire incident.

“The intent was not to frighten [students], but to test our system, and also to test the response of the security,” said Anthony Brown, vice chancellor for student affairs. Staff and faculty were notified five days in advance via email and text messages that a drill would take place.

Sometimes technology can aid in our ability to communicate. But I wonder if we have come to assume that sending out electronic notices means we are communicating, when sending a message is only part of the communication equation.

Also yesterday, the shooting at University of Arkansas-Little Rock, in which one student was injured, hit close to home for fellow higher ed blogger College Web Guy, who works at UALR. His post about the incident includes links to area news coverage. Even though the campus uses its emergency alert system to notify students, several of them apparently didn’t get the word, according to one news report CWG links to.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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