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Campus asked to confirm phone numbers for emergency notifications

September 8, 2020
Information Technology Solutions
September 8, 2020

On Tuesday, September 15th, UC Riverside students, staff, and faculty members will asked to confirm their phone number for use by the Emergency Notification System. These phone numbers are used to quickly contact the campus community in case of an emergency.

Text messaging is one of several tools used to communicate during an emergency and is often the quickest way to be notified. Other campus tools include verbal broadcasts from the bell tower, messaging on campus computer screens, email, and voicemail.

Here’s more background on the update:

What is the Emergency Notification System (ENS)?

The UCR Emergency Response System, or ENS, is a mass notification system used to send text/SMS messages to students, faculty, and staff members in the event of an emergency or immediate threat to campus or the surrounding community. For example, if UCR was aware of an active shooter on campus, a notification with details about the event and location of the threat would be sent to the cellphones of all users whose numbers are in the ENS database.

What will take place on Sept. 15?

The first time a current student, faculty, or staff member logs in to UCR's Central Authentication Service on or after Sept. 15. they will see a pop-up window asking them to verify their cell phone number(s) on file for ENS purposes. The ENS will pull from Banner and UCPath to show an associated phone number and ask you to confirm whether or not that number is your current personal cellphone number.

Please note UCR Extension students, as well as university vendors and contractors, will not be prompted to verify their cellphone number(s) during the update. Extension students, vendors, and contractors must manually opt into the ENS. Directions on how to opt in will be provided in follow-up communication to those specific groups.

What if the cellphone number is incorrect, or I don’t have a number on file?

If the phone number displayed in the pop-up window is incorrect or if you do not currently have a cell phone number on file with the university, you will be prompted to update your Banner and/or UCPath account. Instructions on how to update your contact information in these systems can be found in the UCR Information Technology Solutions Knowledgebase (Banner instructions; UCPath instructions).

This ENS phone number verification process repeats annually on Sept. 15. What are the reasons for that?

Your safety and the safety of those around you is a top priority. By having the cellphone numbers of all students, faculty, and staff members on file in the UCR ENS, we can ensure more members of our community are immediately alerted about any imminent or immediate danger or threat.

Does it have to be a cellphone number?

Yes. Other numbers, such as those associated with landline phones or fax machines, cannot receive text/SMS messages and would therefore be useless in the event of an emergency.

What if I don’t have the time or ability to verify my number when prompted?

If for any reason you are unable to complete the verification process when initially prompted, you will have the option to postpone the verification process for 30 days by selecting the “Skip confirmation for 30 days” option. At the end of 30 days, you will receive another ENS cell phone verification prompt.

Can I opt out of the ENS?

You can opt out of the ENS during the verification process but it is strongly discouraged as this system is critical to the safety and well-being of each member of our campus community.

If you decide to opt out of the ENS by selecting "Opt out of ENS," you must confirm that you understand you will not receive text/SMS notifications in the event of an emergency situation on or near campus.

Will I be contacted about COVID-19 with this information?
Possibly. Contact tracing and case investigation are essential to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Having accurate contact information will make it faster and easier to notify employees and students if they have interacted with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

What can be done now to prepare for the update?

Proactively updating your cellphone information will allow you to quickly and easily confirm your cell phone number when all of campus is prompted to do so on Sept. 15. All students, faculty, and staff members are encouraged to review and update their personal contact information on file with UCR as soon as possible.

Student employees only need to update their cellphone contact information in one system but are encouraged to update their information in both UCPath and Banner.