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University issues apology for AlertSU midnight calls

A trio of a delayed phone all-clear message regarding Tuesday’s evacuation of Tresidder Memorial Union, a malfunctioning steam valve at the Cardinal Cogen facility and a series of Amber Alerts awoke the Stanford community early Wednesday morning.

MissionMode, the third-party alert system vendor behind the AlertSU program, experienced a delay of over 12 hours in issuing an “all-clear” notification regarding reports of a suspicious backpack at Tresidder. Around half of the campus community received the late-night message.

“Stanford never intended phone alerts to be issues during overnight hours,” wrote University administrators in an explanatory email to the University population.

According to University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin, Stanford has asked MissionMode to upgrade the standard platforms they use specifically for Stanford because the system has experienced delays in the past.

She added that Stanford contacted MissionMode early Wednesday morning to prevent calls from going through to the other 50 percent of Stanford’s population.

A non-threatening release of steam at the Cardinal Cogen facility and a series of government-issued Amber Alerts capped what Lapin referred to as an “unfortunate confluence of events.”

“We apologize for…the disruption created for many individuals,” the University email added. “We are working to develop the most efficient systems possible to provide timely notifications to our University community.”

About Madeleine Han

Seunghwa Madeleine Han '17 is a sophomore at Stanford interested in English, international relations and the intersection of technology and human communication. She is the current head music critic and former news desk editor at The Daily. Contact her at mhan95 'at' stanford.edu to find out more.