Opinion

Our Opinion: Lack of communication emergency unacceptable

Packed into the lobbies of residential colleges, students were left frustrated and clueless because the suspects of an armed robbery were at large for at least three hours. They were not provided with specific information from authorities as to what the danger actually was until the Coral Gables Police Department made their first arrests. This delay was unacceptable.

Administrative officials prided themselves on how effective the results were from the last Emergency Notification Network (ENN) test this past September. According to its website, the ENN reached 49 percent of test participants in the first 10 minutes of the test, and 99 percent within the first 20 minutes. A total of 79,000 e-mails, text messages and phone calls were sent out to community members on the ENN during this semester’s test.

On Wednesday night, The Miami Hurricane did not receive a single report of text messages, e-mails or phone calls made to the UM student body about the incident. Instead, students were left to depend on hearsay and Facebook. Social networking sites played an integral role, as one of the quickest ways to contact peers and family to find a hint of truth amidst the chaos.

This situation calls into question whether we are prepared to effectively handle emergency situations at our institution. Virginia Tech first informed students about the massacre that happened on their campus in April of 2007 via e-mail at 9:26 a.m., more than two hours after the first gunshot. Unbelievably, our student body was never notified that armed criminals were roaming our campus. We should never be so complacent as to believe that something so tragic could never happen at UM.

Editorial represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial staff.

Should students have been informed immediately after the armed robbery incident on Tuesday night?

  • Yes, students need to be informed in emergency situations. (91%, 127 Votes)
  • No, there must be some reason alerts were not issued. (4%, 6 Votes)
  • Unsure. (4%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 139

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November 11, 2009

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.