TU students who receive text messages as part of the university’s emergency notification program may have noticed the recent warnings concerning Campus Security’s phone services.
So far this month, there have been three campus phone outages that have ranged in time from 20 to 90 minutes, though at least one of those occurred over the winter break. These outages, which are reported to the campus community via text any time they prevent incoming calls to TU’s Campus Security office, are generally a result of planned system updates or other information infrastructure upgrades. Other times, the outages are caused by vendor issues or unplanned system service problems. Phone outages have been happening periodically since the university replaced its old telephone system with VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology three years ago.
While no cause for alarm, those who have opted into the emergency notification service receive phone updates to prevent callers from experiencing a delay if they need to report an emergency. The message contains an alternate phone number and/or instructions to report any emergencies to 911 while the phones are down. A follow-up text is sent once the outage has been resolved and the phones are back online.
Though the phone outages should not be concerning in and of themselves, many TU students have been completely unaware of the situation, as only those who have previously signed up for the emergency text message service have gotten the alerts. This service is a “key component of the university’s emergency notification program and…all members of the campus community are strongly encouraged to enroll in the program,” said Mona Chamberlin, the university director of marketing and communications. Students and employees are able to sign up by logging into http://portal.utulsa.edu, navigating to the Information Technology link and clicking on “Emergency Text Registration.”