Twitter Barrage

Alert system bombs: Official university protocol fails to warn students of major threat

University protocol fails to warn students of major bomb threat

TCU Campus
TCU students found out about a campus bomb threat from social media. TCU/Facebook

After receiving reports of a suspicious package on Texas Christian University's campus earlier this week, authorities quickly sprung into action. But while campus police, Fort Worth firefighters and members of the bomb squad worked to determine what threat the package posed, students and faculty were left in the dark.

Although the incident proved to be harmless, the campus community is still up in arms, especially as many learned about the bomb threat from social media posts.

TCU spokesperson Katherine Polenz says the university was just "following protocol" when it chose not to alert students about the perceived threat until after the scene was cleared.

"We were in direct contact with campus police the whole time," Polenz says. "You don't want to push out massive alerts and alarm people unnecessarily."

Many students, however, disagree. Their confusion seems to be compounded by the fact that TCU recently invested in a mass notification system, TCU Alert, which is designed for precisely these kinds of situations. TCU Alert was added to campus this summer and is scheduled for its first major test Oct. 9.

But campus stakeholders wish it had been used in this real-life situation. Disgruntled students and faculty members took to Twitter to air their grievances.

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