There were 23 shootings on American college campuses in 2015, according to an article published on Time magazine. At FGCU, UPD and Business Technology Services are trying to avoid these and other emergency situations. The two campus bodies have teamed up to create a new alert system that will be available for staff members working in their classrooms Monday, April 25.
“This is the result of the various workplace incidents viewed through the news around the country,” UPD Chief Steven Moore said.
The Threat Alert System is a program that will be put into effect when a staff member feels the need to contact UPD quietly, especially in situations where openly calling UPD would be harmful to those in the classroom. Instead of overtly notifying the police, instructors are able to press two keys on their computers, automatically sending an alert to UPD. Moore asked that the two specific keys weren’t revealed on this article.
“It’s a more discreet way to notify the police when they don’t have the ability to use a phone,” Moore told Eagle News.
Angel Taylor, an instructor who teaches Comp 1, 2 and Intro to Literature believes that the system could be beneficial, but has some flaws.
“I suppose in theory it would benefit students and instructors in that they could get help to the classroom more quickly,” Taylor said. “The downside is how fast will they get there, what is the size of the classroom, are the doors locked so someone can’t get in. If somebody would come in with a gun they could do lots of mayhem before somebody arrived because I don’t know how far away some part of UPD is.”
Since the system only allows users to alert UPD and not explain the situation they are calling about, UPD will be treating calls made through Threat Alert System like any type of alert system.
Moore discussed the Threat Alert System during the faculty senate meeting on Friday, April 1.
“That’s a program that BTS has been working on for several months,” Moore said during the meeting. “This is something we can make more universal for everybody who has a computer or keyboard at their desk.”
Dr. Sandra Pavelka, the Vice President of Faculty Senate and associate professor of public administration, is confident that the program will benefit all involved.
“The new threat alert system will provide faculty and staff with a means to report a safety threat from their individual offices and classrooms to UPD,” Pavelka said. “When UPD receives the threat alert, officers will be able to provide an immediate response and ensure safety to our campus community.”
The system is being implemented now because UPD has gotten several requests for panic buttons to be placed throughout campus from different offices at FGCU. Moore said the university staff has been making requests to their vice presidents during budget requests.
“It’s just another layer of options to provide faculty and staff,” Moore said. “We’ve been getting a growing number of panic alarms from different offices. It’s a way that (staff) can notify UPD in an extreme situation.”
The system was first brought to the Safety and Facilities Committee by Moore last year. However, Moore has been dabbling with the idea for several years.
“I found the system five or six years ago,” Moore said. “BTS got involved because it is a software based system.”
The system will work a bit differently on Apple computers. During the faculty senate meeting, Moore revealed that he had been in contact with other universities in regards to how to implement the program on non-Windows systems.
“It’s really built for Windows computers, but BTS is working for it to work on Mac computers,” Moore said.
The Threat Alert System will be the newest program in the notification plan at FGCU, which involves FGCU Alert, Guardian Eagle and Outdoor Siren.