As many students have noticed, lately our school has been put through various safety alerts. First, it was the discovery of shotgun shells in the recreation center. Next it was a message that warned the campus about a possible bomb on campus. Some students may feel confused and possibly a bit scared.

The fact is that many don’t feel safe. We are left wondering why such things would happen on our campus. With the arrival of the FDU Mobile phones, most thought that campus communication would be improved. We would no longer have to rely on the faulty e-mail system, which we all know does not always work. If there was any important information to be conveyed to the whole campus community, or worse, if there was a possible safety threat, we would have the ability to be instantly warned and be kept informed of the campus’ happenings.

As of late, this does not seem to be true. Many are left wondering why the FDU Mobile text message system was not used to warn and inform students about the recent events.

The day of the bomb threat on campus, I was working in The Metro office. All of a sudden, Student Life Director Sarah Azavedo knocked on the door and told me that everyone had to evacuate the building since there was a bomb threat. I had to admit I was a bit scared, and the overall presence of police and news helicopters flying overhead only heightened this feeling.

Outside, FDU professors, students and employees sat and stood across the grass, practically baffled by the situation. We stared at each other in puzzlement and talked to each other, trying to figure out what in the world was going on.

Students who just got out of class and were unaware of what was going on headed in groups to the Student Center, but were turned away at the door. No one understood what was going on. And it was only until hours later that I, as well most others in the FDU community, found out through e-mail.

I thought that we had FDU Mobile for a reason?

We are lucky that nothing happened, but something could have. The only thing is that officials apparently did not feel that a possible bomb on campus was an “immediate threat.”

The system “must only be used in the case of an immediate threat to the campus community,” according to the mass e-mail sent to the community. The presence of shotgun shells in an unlocked locker was also not considered a “threat.”

I don’t know about you, but I believe that both of these instances are threats. They put everyone in our FDU community in danger and I believe we should be warned and told to keep cautious and have our eyes open in such instances.

Plenty of students don’t check their FDU e-mail on a regular basis. If something did happen in either of these cases, a simple email warning could have proved to be fatal. Haven’t we learned from the tragedies across the nation in which e-mail was used to warn students?

Some might wonder, if such things as a bomb threat and shotgun shells found on campus aren’t considered “immediate threats,” what is?

Most students think that we should at least be warned of what is going on. Time is important in such cases, and to wait it out and see if there is really a threat present may prove to be fatal. FDU Mobile is here in part to protect students, to convey a feeling of safety, and to improve the overall campus communication. So why aren’t we using it that way?

Published in the October 17, 2007 issue of The Metro

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