School’s text alert gaffe makes the Twitterverse gaspFrom staff and wire reports
Read more by staff and wire services reports
UM’s Emergency Notification Network exists to alert students and faculty of a safety threat—an oncoming hurricane, for example, or maybe an armed gunman. But the text message that went out to the UM community on the evening of Dec. 5 contained a different sort of warning:
“Black male on campus,” UM proclaimed. “Wearing black and white tennis shoes, white shirt w/blk writing, black shorts.”
The message was related to a stolen laptop computer, but, in an apparent administrative glitch, UM’s text alert made no mention of an actual crime. That left some to wonder whether UM was suggesting that being a black man on campus was in and of itself somehow suspicious or wrong—otherwise, why would anyone need the urgent heads-up about it?
UM sent out a separate (but also incomplete) warning via Twitter that read like an empty template: “DESCRIPTION with WEAPON by LOCATION,” it stated.
The mistakes led to raised eyebrows—and plenty of jokes at UM’s expense—across the social media world.