It was only a week after the new UC Davis emergency alert system was tested when it actually got put to use. After the bomb scare late on the night of Mar. 5, students, faculty and staff were sent e-mail notifications the next morning shortly after 8 a.m. – after the situation was under control.
While some may criticize the administration for waiting so long before alerting the campus, the university made the right move in doing so. Since no immediate or apparent danger was present, there was no need to inform others outside of Tercero just yet. It is important that administrators first assess the severity of the present situation before alerting the masses. As stated in the police report, the materials possessed were not assembled, nor were the chemicals mixed when discovered by authorities. Therefore, a premature campuswide notification could have just resulted in unnecessary panic.
It is comforting to know that UC Davis officials handled this situation efficiently and appropriately, without haphazard decision-making. The incident showed good communication between the university and various emergency services, which is a key element to any sort of disaster response. Though some say the university overreacted to the situation, it’s better to be cautious when considering recent campus crises nationwide.
It is fortunate that the emergency notification system was implemented on what turned out to be a relatively minor and harmless incident. This gives the administration a chance to collect feedback from students and faculty, and determine any flaws in the system for it to improve upon.
At this time it is important for the university to extend its campuswide emergency preparedness education. The administration should be proactive in raising student awareness of how to respond to an emergency situation. Some of these tools could include quarterly newsletters and workshops on safety, as well as more thorough residence hall education concerning violence.