How to handle campus crises in the digital age

Benton says media outlets often exacerbate campus crises.

Pepperdine University President Andrew Benton told higher-education officials March 7 in Washington, D.C. that they should be wary of contact with journalists covering campus emergencies such as fires and shootings. Instead, Benton said, students should rely solely on the university for updated information.

Benton spoke at the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Annual Meeting at the Washington Hilton during a session called, “Leading Through Crises in the Digital Age.”

Mass text messages, eMail alerts, and phone calls to students and faculty members have become key in response to campus emergencies, but Benton said assuring students that school officials will provide up-to-the-minute information on what to do during a crisis should be a top priority for decision makers in charge of planning for emergencies.…Read More

Campus researchers’ newest weapon in flood warnings: Google Maps

Tropical Storm Allison caused $5 billion in property damage in Houston and surrounding suburbs.
Tropical Storm Allison caused $5 billion in property damage in Houston and surrounding suburbs.

A customized Google Maps program could save lives and help prevent millions—even billions—of dollars in flood damage to the world’s largest medical center and its surrounding communities after Rice University researchers upgraded the school’s flood-tracking technology this summer.

Created in 1997, the university’s online Flood Alert System (FAS) has seen three iterations, with the latest involving software that can show the potential depth of flood waters in the detailed Google Maps format.

The newest system, known as FAS3, allows anyone—including Rice students working on the project—to track how much flooding will occur in the Houston area in the next 60-90 minutes, according to Rice’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters Center (SSPEED).…Read More