Students confused by emergency text alert mistake

Former Lone Star College students -- even those at new schools -- were accidentally sent an emergency message by the school.

HOUSTON - Lone Star College is accepting responsibility for an emergency text alert calling for a campus evacuation that was mistakenly sent out to students at other universities.

The problem started when there was a gas leak in the cafeteria of the Lone Star-University Park campus. School officials immediately sent out the following message:

"There is an emergency on campus. Calmly evacuate all building using available exits. Move away from buildings and wait for further instructions."

The message was sent to Lone Star students and staff but was also mistakenly delivered to former students. Many former students, now enrolled at other universities and colleges, assumed the emergency evacuation was happening on their new campuses.

The alert caused so much concern at the University of Texas that UT police sent out a tweet saying the text alerts were fake and that officers were investigating. Officials at Baylor, University of Oklahoma, Ole Miss, LSU and University of Colorado at Boulder also had to calm students about the Lone Star alerts.

Within one minute of sending out the text alert message, Lone Star College issued a corrected text detailing where the gas leak was happening. Apparently, the person typing the initial alert didn't realize that the location wouldn't show. The message was sent to more than 200,000 people.

College officials say the text alert system was set up only a month ago and that they have since learned from their mistake. 

Lone Star says it has removed about 110,000 people, including all former students from its emergency alert list.

(© 2016 KHOU)


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