Students concerned about notifications

IUS Horizon

After an assault on campus last month, IUS officials responded to students’ concerns about timely notification of the incident and provided clarification on when IU Notify is implemented.

The Office of Administrative Affairs sent an e-mail to students on Oct. 21, informing them of an assault on a female student by a male suspect carrying a firearm in the Hickory Parking Lot.

The e-mail was sent out about an hour after the incident occurred.

“I would’ve liked to have been notified sooner,” Carrie Bower, international studies sophomore and barista at University Grounds coffee shop, said.

Kyle Gaddis, education sophomore and barista at University Grounds coffee shop, said he agreed with Bower.

“I didn’t check my e-mail until later in the day,” Gaddis said.

He said people don’t check their e-mail enough, and if IU Southeast provided a warning through IU Notify about the assault, then students could’ve better prepared if the incident escalated.

Rachel Carty, nursing sophomore, said she would have appreciated a more timely notification after the assault.

“We need to have more warning so we can be more on guard,” Carty said.

IUS Police Chief Charles Edelen said he didn’t believe the IU Notify was necessary after the assault.

“We felt the suspect was no longer on campus and he would no longer be coming back,” Edelen said.

Edelen said the victim knew the suspect, and the suspect used a handgun to threaten her so she wouldn’t relay certain information to his parole officer.

Edelen said after the suspect conveyed his message to the victim, the victim saw the suspect exit campus.

The suspect, Zachary Kilgore, was arrested by Louisville Metro Police on Oct. 28.

Edelen said the female student no longer attends IU Southeast.

The e-mail was the only method of communication chosen by the Emergency Preparedness team to relay information to students after the assault.

The Emergency Preparedness team is composed of the chancellor, vice chancellors, the IUS Police chief and the director of the Physical Plant.

When a threatening situation occurs on campus such as an assault on a student, a water main break or an ice storm, the team assesses the situation and the extent of the crisis and determines what communication method is appropriate to inform students.

“IU Notify is based on prudence and safety,” Larry Mand, vice chancellor for Information Technology and Community Engagement and member of the Emergency Preparedness team, said.

After consulting with the IUS Police chief and other team members, Mand said the decision to inform students directly through the IU Notify was not appropriate in the assault situation.

Jenny Johnson-Wolf, director of University Communications and special assistant to the chancellor, said IU Notify is used only when there is imminent danger to a majority of the student body.

“If we overuse IU Notify, then people may reduce the importance and opt-out of the system,” Johnson-Wolf said.

IU Notify is a safety information system implemented at all IU campuses, informing students, faculty, staff and guests of threatening situations, delays and closings.

Nick Ray, director of Information Technology Support and Communications, said students can receive text, e-mail and phone messages when IU Notify is implemented.

Ray said the system will contact all numbers and e-mails provided on OneStart under the emergency notification tab. Students can also update their information on the Web site.

Other methods of relaying emergency and safety information through IU Notify include sirens, public addresses, information on the IUS home page, building stewards, residence hall assistants and electronic media notifications.

Staff Writer