Lance Spivey (middle), Howard Snow (left) and other members of the Heirs to the Confederacy talk to a student counterprotester on Aug. 20. Photo courtesy of Twitter user @m152375.

'UNC Anti-Racist Alerts' system aims to promote safety when Confederates are on campus

A rise in Confederate-based demonstrations led to the creation of a text message alert system by community activists. As implications of hostility toward anti-Silent Sam activists continue from pro-Confederates outside of Chapel Hill, the new alert system has accrued around 950 subscribers in two weeks. 

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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