Texas A&M University-Kingsville students received emergency text messages, which ordered the student body to migrate off campus until further instruction, Oct. 5.
Initially geared toward Lone Star College, located six hours away in University Park, a glitch in the notification system managed to send the emergency information to TAMUK students who have subscribed to Blackboard Connect. Felipe Garza, chief of police, noted that the university did not provide the flawed circuit of messages, but it provided insight as to how many students actually have signed up for these urgent memos. According to Garza, a gas leak took place at Lone Star College and sent out a mass notice, emphasizing the need to evacuate the premises. All individuals with either a 214, 469, or a 972 area code were sent a text message alert by the alert system. Thus, TAMUK students with those area codes received the message intended for Lone Star College, in error.
“Students who are signed up through Blackboard Connect will receive these messages. Blackboard Connect keeps students updated with the latest campus news as it’s reported,” Garza verified.
Students at random were asked if they were signed up to obtain campus notifications, or had the JavGuard app. Out of the 20 students asked, not one person had any idea the university provided these services.
Valentin “Val” Ramirez, business analyst II ITech presented step-by-step instruction in regard to registering for both the text messages, as well as JavGuard (Rave Guardian). “Students need to log into their Jnet accounts and click on the ‘Campus Resource’ tab. Down at the bottom center, there will be a link named ‘Blackboard Connect’, which will direct the student to the subscription page,” said Ramirez. University Police Department and Dr. Terisa Riley, senior vice president for fiscal and student affairs, sent out a mass email confirming the system error. The email was issued the same day of the event and encouraged students to update contact information.