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UMKC Alert System Doesn’t Notify Students of Small Campus Fire

Students Reflect on What Warrants A Warning
Lauren Zoller
After a small fire on Jan. 24, students question why they weren’t informed.

  The UMKC alert system, designed to notify students of campus dangers, issues or closures, has left some students confused after a recent incident left some students uninformed.

  A small fire broke out in Flarsheim Hall on Jan. 24, prompting a swift evacuation. However, no alerts were sent out, raising concerns among students who expected the system to notify them beyond weather-related notifications. 

  “I think it absolutely needed to have pinged to the alert system,” said Eliza Vaughn-Petersen, a creative writing graduate student, who expressed her surprise at not receiving an alert about the fire. “If there is something up on campus, the system should tell me.” 

  Her sentiments are aimed at the alert system, which should encompass a broader range of incidents, especially those with potential safety implications.

  “I didn’t receive anything and all my info is up to date,” said Haley Veilleux, a graduate English student also expressing concern. “Alerts are helpful when people get them. This isn’t helpful when we don’t get alerts. This should’ve been one.” 

  Even an incident during the harsh winter, where the alert system announced a “Late Start” due to icy roads at 10 a.m., has sparked questions about the criteria for issuing notices to campus.

  “Alerts typically are sent for issues that affect all of campus or will be of lasting duration,” said Stacy Downs, Director of Strategic Communications at UMKC. “Fortunately, this incident was quickly contained to one room, and the rest of the building was quickly able to reopen.”

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