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Mass notification system will alert students of campus emergencies

In the event of a campus crisis this school year, UNB’s director of security and traffic hopes a new mass notification system, set to launch in the pockets of Fredericton’s post-secondary students this month, will help to keep things under control.

“Being an ex-RCMP guy and seeing what’s going on in the rest of the country and down south … [vice-president academic Tony Secco and I] said, ‘is there a way we can send urgent messages to students?’” said Bruce Rogerson, adding that such emergencies could range from a weapon-wielder to a pack of coyotes on campus.

The new system will see students and faculty of UNB, STU and NBCC alerted electronically whenever such an emergency arises; this could be in the form of email, text message, social media or whatever else the receiver opts for.

Rogerson said the idea was initially thrown around last year after a student thought to be carrying a weapon on the STU campus was swarmed by emergency officials, prompting curious spectators to fill the area.

“A lot of students went down to see what was going on… they complained they weren’t notified in a timely manner,” he said.

This is where the new cloud-based communication system comes in. Rogerson said he is currently in the final stages of setting up the new program.

“We’re down to three vendors … I want the full enchilada, so that people can get contacted through various means … Social media and [student] email and it will go to your phone if you want text messaging,” said Rogerson, adding that “even if somebody has their cell on vibrate, if I can reach one student I can reach 10.”

For Rogerson, it’s all about ensuring the safety and security of Fredericton’s post-secondary students.

“If there is a serious threat, then people will know to keep away … until they get the all-clear,” he said.

Rogerson hopes to have the new system in place by the end of October.

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