Students question timeliness of Tiger Text alert following shooting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Students question timeliness of Tiger Text alert following shooting

Sunday night's deadly shooting of football player Taylor Bradford took place outside the Carpenter Complex on the University of Memphis campus at approximately 9:45pm. 

It was not until 3:45 a.m.- a full six hours later- that a "Tiger Text" alert notified students.

Tiger Text is a free emergency alert text messaging service available to students, faculty, and staff at the Unversity of Memphis.  According to the Unversity's website, "The Tiger Text text messaging service is just one of the methods the University will use to communicate emergency information to students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to use a variety of other methods as appropriate, including email, telephone and, beginning the fall 2007 semester, an outdoor emergency warning system."

"Classes canceled main campus only," the message said.  "All offices open.  Tune to local media or call 678-0888 for more info."

Monday, some students worried the text message was too little, too late.

"(It) would always be a good thing to be alerted earlier," said student Bekah McDuffie, "but I think they did get everyone informed. Maybe not as soon as I would have hoped."
McDuffie was in the Carpenter Complex when the shooting happened outside. She wished the alert would have come earlier.

"We didn't know that the danger had left campus," she said. "As far as we knew, they were still out. They could have been anywhere on campus."

University leaders said in the moments after the shooting, the residence halls went on lock down, but once officials decided the campus was not in danger, people were free to go.

Action News 5 asked what took so long for the alerts.

"I don't think we had enough information," said the University's Bob Eoff. "The Memphis Police and the Campus Police were working together to investigate at that point."
Student body president Gionni Carr said an immediate text message or a PA system alert could have made matters worse.
"There was no immediate threat to the University," Carr said. "That's why there was no immediate Tiger Text message sent out, because all that would have done is cause mass pandemonium, which was not necessary." 
The issue of when, how, and the best way to alert students in an emergency is under review by campus officials.

TALK TO US: We want to know what you think.  To send us your comments about the shooting, campus safety, and to send your condolences, click here to Talk to Us.

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