By Alec Stutson, Reporter
In an open forum hosted by the Missouri Student Association on Thursday night, approximately 20 students gathered to share their questions and concerns with the new MU Alert system.
MU Alert recently received back-end changes, improving on previous feedback given by students and staff. The Emergency Alert System now can include specific locations for current emergencies, as well as link users to a webpage with descriptions of the crime, possible suspects, and eye-witness accounts.
The overhaul of the system is mostly behind the scenes, making the EAS more user friendly for the employees who send out the alerts.
“The MU Community should not notice any differences in how the emergency-alerts are delivered. It will be as seamless as it was before.” Christian Basi said, Associate Director of the Marketing and Communication Division.
Students at the forum expressed their own comments and concerns. One student was concerned that students sometimes receive emergency alerts much later than others.
“Unfortunately that is out of our control,” MU Chief of Police Douglas Schwandt said. “We send out message to the phone companies and after that it is in their hands.”
The open forum was the first in a hopefully long chain of student led discussion forums. The initiative is called Roar At Us, and subsequent events are scheduled to be held on the first Thursday of every month at 4 p.m. in the Leadership Auditorium.
The idea came from Sean Earl, current president of the MSA. “We wanted to have engagement with the student body, and give them a platform to voice their opinions with the Administration, and this was the first step towards doing that.”
“We wanted to pull things that we knew students had an interest in,” Earl said when asked about how his cabinet selected topics. “Especially with everything that transpired last fall, we had heard student’s concern about MU Alert. And we thought ‘Why not let students voice their concerns directly to MUPD and MU Alert?’”
Ironically, the supposedly improved MU Alert system sent out multiple vague messages that very night following a reported robbery at Wolpers hall. The Alert System, which was supposed to include the location of the crime, failed to do so. The MU News Bureau released a statement today apologizing for the failure, citing “a human error.”
In another statement, the University said that the MUPD had arrested Courtney A. Chancellor for “filing a false report of a robbery.” According to the statement, Schwandt said that Chancellor “confessed that she had reported the crime falsely.”
Earl stated that his goal by the end of the semester is to have the entire auditorium full. Currently his cabinet are working out exactly how to advertise and raise awareness about the forums. According to Earl, the topic for next month’s Roar At Us is Campus Dining services.
“I hope that the students who did attend [tonight’s forum] felt that is was worth their time,” Earl said. “I know I will be reaching out to them to get feedback on how MSA can improve in hosting these forums, and what we might need to change going into the future.”