The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Alert Carolina makes major changes to system

Derek Kemp, associate vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management, said the “One Button” system takes what used to be a 15 minute process and consolidates it into a two to three minute process.

“What we’re trying to get is speed and accuracy of response,” Kemp said.

Matthew Mauzy, IT manager at the ITS control center, said the “One Button” system would essentially automate several of the software tools used to send out Alert Carolina messages. He said Alert Carolina is more than just a website; it is mass messaging for email, text messaging and posts to official University social media accounts.

“So, right now, those activities are spread across a few different software tools,” Mauzy said. “What the ‘One Button’ program or automation will do is that instead of the user having to log in to individual tools to push out that first sirens on emergency notification message, they’ll be able to essentially push a button, and it is physical button.”

Mauzy said after the button is pushed, the automation will take over behind the scenes and log into the various tools to send out predetermined messages to all the same distribution points that would be done in the past manually.

Kemp said this system is funded through a $30 student fee, but it is not tied specifically to the “One Button” initiative. He said it is UNC system-wide change to improve student welfare.

“It’s a system fee that can support security, it can also support Title IX,” Kemp said.

Mauzy said there will be a full systems test with the new automation piece on June 17 with full implementation July 1.

Mauzy said the idea for the “One Button” system was inspired by what other colleges used for their emergency systems but UNC’s plan is intended to meet the specific needs of the University and the community.

At the May Board of Trustees meeting, Kemp said the attempted kidnapping in November 2015 partially prompted the changes to the Alert Carolina system.

The kidnapping occurred at the intersection of Kenan Street and West Cameron Avenue. Chapel Hill Police charged Keith Robert Webster Jr., of Durham, with second degree kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a felon. The student was walking when Webster pulled up in his vehicle and attempted to force the student into his vehicle. Webster was armed at the time of the attempted kidnapping. According to police, bystanders helped the student escape.

However, Randy Young, department of public safety spokesperson, said the “One Button” system is not in response to a specific emergency incident and is the natural progression of Alert Carolina.

“Every time we activate the Alert Carolina system at virtually any level, there is inherently a review process,” Young said. “We look over not only what went right, what can be improved upon, not only from within our own capabilities but also looking at...other universities.”


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