Alert Carolina

Alert Carolina is an initiative started at UNC in 2008 as a way to improve campus safety in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting. Alert Carolina includes a text-alert system and sirens.

There are six sirens spread across campus that are designed to be heard by people outside. The sirens are used for four situations: an armed and dangerous person on or near campus, a major chemical spill or hazard, a tornado sighting or a different emergency determined by the Department of Public safety. The sirens are tested several times a year.

If the department determines a situation is serious but doesn’t warrant sirens, notifications are placed on the Alert Carolina website. The emergency situations committee determines if a text message is necessary.

They will send four different kinds of messages.

  1. Emergency warning is issued if there is a significant emergency or immediate threat to the health or safety of people on campus — such as an armed and dangerous person on campus, major chemical spill or a tornado warning issued for Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
  2. Timely Warning is issued if there is a continuing danger affecting the campus community and notification will not compromise law enforcement efforts — such as reports of a homicide, sex offense or robbery.
  3. Informational messages are issued if a situation is not an emergency and does not pose an immediate threat to the campus community, but is of significant interest to the campus. These messages are intended to tell people to be aware of a particular situation. For example, an alleged assault occurring on or near campus
  4. Adverse weather messages are issued when a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm warning is issued by the National Weather Service for Orange County.

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Campus deserved alert

After UNC students learned that Alert Carolina failed to immediately notify students that a woman was raped close to campus in the early morning of Feb. 9, their response was vocal and critical.


Alert Carolina sees major changes

University officials are hoping revisions to the Alert Carolina emergency response system will restore students’ trust in campus safety. The new emergency notification plan, which was released Thursday, will be split up into three alert categories, said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp.

UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Greensboro evaluate and test alert systems

UNC-CH is not the only school reviewing its campus alert system. Officials at UNC-Wilmington are also investigating their alert system after it failed to notify students of a July 29 shooting. Investigators are working to issue a full report detailing the source of the failure by the end of this week, said Cindy Lawson, a spokeswoman for UNC-W in an email.

	Freshman Quinn Matney told campus police that his wrist was burned by someone in an anti-gay hate crime. The report turned out to be false.

Year in Review: In one night, two crimes result in response review

On the morning of April 4, two reported crimes would shake the community’s faith in Alert Carolina. Only one would prove to be true. Just after midnight, five students were robbed at gunpoint inside a suite in Morrison Residence Hall, police said. And a freshman falsely reported that a man severely burned him on the wrist at 3 a.m.