The University community received alarming information and frequent updates from several news organizations, Twitter, Facebook and televised news broadcasts.
However, there was one source that surprisingly didn’t make contact with the community.
Auburn’s new emergency communications system known as AU ALERT allows students, faculty and staff to receive time-sensitive messages in the form of e-mail, voice and text messages whenever the University is threatened.
However, an AU ALERT was not sent out after the tragic shooting that resulted in the deaths of two Auburn students and one resident.
Auburn University Threat Assessment Team leader Chance Corbett said his department was assured by the Auburn Police Department that there was no viable threat, which is why an AU ALERT was not sent out.
“The Auburn Police Department are the police service for the campus, and responded to the scene of the crime when they received the call,” Corbett said. “It notified us of the students that were involved in the incident and assured us that the campus was not threatened.”
Corbett said the police also said the incident would not necessitate an AU ALERT.
Corbett also said an AU ALERT is reserved to notify students, faculty and staff during an event that requires emergency action, such as a lock-down or need to take shelter.
“If the suspect was thought to be on campus, or if the police chief had said there was still a threat to the students or to anyone of the campus, we would have definitely sent out an AU ALERT,” Corbett said.
Jaclyn Wilson, senior in marine biology, said at first she was surprised that she didn’t receive an AU ALERT, but in retrospect, she understands why that decision was made.
“I’m at Dauphin Island this summer taking classes and conducting research,” Wilson said.
“I didn’t hear about the shooting right when it happened, and, being so far from it all, it would have been nice to get an AU ALERT message; but since it didn’t happen on campus, it makes sense that an AU ALERT wasn’t sent out.”
Corbett said Campus Services does not and will not hesitate to alert the University community of threatening events that meet those criteria.
“I am deeply sorry for the lives lost and those affected by the events that took place at University Heights over the weekend,” Corbett said. “Campus Security and everyone at the University are devastated, and had this event taken place on campus, an AU ALERT would have been distributed.”
Jade Dwelley, junior in psychology and current tenant at University Heights, said she trusts AU ALERT to notify her of any threats that happen on campus.
“Even though the messages are sometimes delayed, AU ALERT has always followed through during an emergency,” Dwelley said.
“What happened was absolutely horrible. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen at Auburn, and I know if anything had happened on campus, we would have known about it.”