UNC-G already sends out notifications via text message, e-mail and social media, similar to UNC-CH’s AlertCarolina, which uses a siren, website and text message system to notify of campus danger.
But when UNC-G sends them through multiple means, they have to change systems to do so. The device would allow them to send messages all at once.
“It is just part of the university’s effort to improve notifications,” Lester said. “We have pretty good notification; it is just not as fast.”
He said the devices would still send out alerts if the campus were to lose power when some students wouldn’t have access to e-mail.
The device also has a GPS accountability that would allow police to respond to student alerts on campus. Students would send alerts by pressing a button.
“It is almost like a panic button that you carry across campus,” Lester said.
Marshall said the devices need some fine tuning, but if they increase safety on campus she would support getting them.
“If we knew we could fund it completely for the school and see the benefit for the school, then I would support it,” Marshall said.
Lester said if police find that the devices improve campus safety, they will make recommendations to buy them to Reade Taylor, the vice chancellor for business affairs.
But Taylor said that because of expected budget cuts for next year, the university doesn’t have the funds to pay for them.
“We are a long ways from procuring these for our student body,” Taylor said. “I need to hear the results. Is it worth the money? The hassle? It is not until you need it. But when you need it, you wish you had it.”
Taylor said UNC-G is laying off faculty, so it would be a difficult decision if police, students and faculty approve of the devices.
He said UNC-G would only be able to pay for them through student fees or additional cuts to the university budget.
“I hate to be blunt about it but that is the environment we are in,” Taylor said. “I told them they could test them, but I’m not going to make promises of buying them.”
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