The killing of 32 students by a gunman at Virginia Tech last April and the university's handling of the incident has prompted changes in the way universities notify students about emergencies on campus. More incidences of violence at U.S. college campuses this fall emphasize the importance of having a quickly activated, comprehensive emergency warning system in place.
The University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, will use the Web broadcasting capability of Impulse Point's Safe Connect Network Access Control (NAC) solution as one of its methods for notifying students and faculty about an emergency situation. University of the Pacific will also use text messages and email announcements in a multipronged effort to reach as many people as quickly as possible, should an emergency occur. Many other schools have instituted text messaging alert systems, according to recent reports by "The New York Times" and Associated Press.
At the University of the Pacific, Safe Connect ensures that all students accessing the university network register their computer and agree to the university's acceptable use policies. Impulse Point encourages Safe Connect customers to create templates for several broadcast alert situations, such as a fire, police emergency, severe weather, and computer virus outbreak. Then when an emergency occurs, customers such as the university can use the NAC system to broadcast an emergency message to all computers currently connected to the network. The computer's default Web browser is automatically initiated in the forefront of the screen with the university's message. For those not actively connected, the message will appear once the computer is turned on.