Penn State

Penn State to change emergency alert system

Penn State will change its emergency alert system later this spring and limit who can sign up to receive notifications, the university announced Wednesday.

Penn State students and employees are the only ones who will be able to sign up for the new system, PSUAlert. It’ll replace the PSUTXT system, a text message-based service that anyone can sign up to use.

The university said the public will be able to see alerts under the new system through Twitter and Facebook. The system is available to students and employees at each campus, except Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

“To help ensure the prompt delivery of alerts to the people directly affected by an incident on or near a Penn State campus, the university must limit who can access and be added to the system,” the university said in a news release.

The current PSUTXT system has about 7,500 followers on Twitter. The most recent text alert it sent out for the University Park campus was Wednesday afternoon for an update on an on-campus burglary investigation.

The university has used the services to comply with the federal Clery Act that requires a timely notification to a campus community after a report of a serious crime.

Students and employees will receive instructions in late May and June about how to sign up for the new alert system.

University officials said the the new system will provide text message and email alerts as well as cellphone-based voice alerts. They also will be synchronized with campus social media accounts.

Students will be able to add parent or guardian contact information in their accounts when they sign up for the new service. Employees can add a spouse or family member, too.