Rutgers’ Test Text Warning of Armed Shooter Alarms Campus

The school sent out a campus-wide email the night before warning students about the planned test, but many students panicked anyway

Rutgers President
AP/NBC 4 New York

A test text warning of an armed shooter on Rutgers' College Avenue campus in New Brunswick Thursday morning alarmed dozens of students, at least one of whom tweeted the message "gave me a heart attack." 

At 9:42 a.m., students received a text that said, "RU ALERT: Armed suspect in area of alexander library. Seek a safe space and shield/secure your location. TEST TEST." 

Nine minutes later, another text went out: "RU ALERT: End training scenario ... End training scenario alexander library." 

Five minutes after that, another message: "RU ALERT: Earlier message was sent during a planned exercise of the RU's emergency management system there is no threat to the Campus." 

A campus-wide email was sent out Wednesday night to let students know about the planned test of the school's emergency notification system, but some students apparently didn't see the message and thought the threat was real. 

"We recognize that the wording of the initial message caused some concern and alarm amongst recipients; however the message was sent only to test the University's Emergency Notification System (ENS)," Michael Rein, deputy chief of University police, said in a statement. "University Public Safety will be making necessary changes to protocols for future training exercises."

The test of the emergency response system comes less than a week after a gunman opened fire in an Orlando nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50 others. 

Some students were disturbed by the training scenario given the current climate. Others pointed out they would have anticipated the messages had they checked their email the day before. 

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