At 12:04 PM 4/18/2007, Matt Kolb wrote:
>John Gorentz wrote:
>>The shooting at Virginia Tech seems to have provoked some discussion of universities' use of e-mail and other text messaging to notify people about emergencies. That made me wonder about the mailing lists that MSU occasionally uses to send out messages. We have some people who don't qualify for regular MSUnet IDs, so we've bought them IDs for the $10 + $1/month. Would those e-mail addresses be on e-mail lists that would tend to be used for emergencies and such?
>The answer is "Yes, assuming that executive management asked for a list containing everyone" and I can't speak for them, but I would assume the answer would be context specific. FYI, we do this type of reporting on the fly, there is no "[log in to unmask]" address which is actually some kind of alias or listserv list (the mail team just makes it look like that is the case).
>I do certainly understand the concern, and it would likely be my job to ask the question of "who do we notify electronically?" in the event of a catastrophe of the VT nature. Thanks for raising this question John. I'll bring it up with our Director.
>Additionally, I would be surprised if this hasn't already been discussed in some detail by the President and her advisers--I wonder if they are planning to make a public statement about this (perhaps they have via the paper and I missed it).
Thanks for that information.
One thing that I hadn't known until just today is that the categories of employees who automatically get MSUnet IDs have now been expanded to include the on-call employees that I had been concerned about. So I presume that that, too, will make it less likely that they would get left out of the loop on important university-wide communications. Some of the people I had been concerned about have security-related jobs.
As to the role of e-mail in emergencies:
Do I think it's the solution to the communications problem? No, there is no such thing as a "solution". We don't even know what the problem is going to be, much less what the solution is. E-mail is not even likely to be the preferred or top-priority means of communication. But it's something that could in many circumstances be good and useful to do.