Western Kentucky University’s sending of an erroneous text-message alert to students and staff members earlier this week has raised questions about the procedure for sending emergency alerts, even as it demonstrated the school’s emergency-alert system works, reports the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky. At 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, WKU sophomore Brian Winner and about 13,000 other students, faculty, and staff members received a text message from the university, warning that "armed men" were reportedly on the South Campus. Nineteen minutes later, another text from university officials warned that shots had been fired near the Pearce Ford Tower residence hall on WKU’s main campus. "That’s when everyone freaked out," said Winner, a sports broadcasting major from Louisville. "People were crying." But, as it turns out, there apparently weren’t armed men on campus, or any shots fired. As WKU officials told dozens of reporters from across the state during a packed news conference about 4 p.m., they sent out "invalid" information that had been reported in 911 calls to local police. But campus officials aren’t apologizing for their response, saying the school’s text-message system, set up after a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University in 2007, was meant to alert students immediately to a possible threat. Though some questioned whether students and parents were unnecessarily frightened, "we would rather be telling you [now] we didn’t have nearly the problem we thought" than to say the school didn’t react quickly enough, said Howard Bailey, vice president of student affairs…

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