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Campus asked to participate in emergency notification update update

UCR wants to ensure you can be reached during an emergency

November 19, 2019
Author: University Communications
November 19, 2019

UC Riverside will update its system used to quickly contact the campus community in case of an emergency. 

Students, staff, and faculty members will be asked to participate in the Emergency Notification System update starting Dec. 9 by verifying UCR has their current cell phone number.

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 changes are being made to the ENS during the update?

All cellphone numbers on file with the university will be imported into the campus ENS for future emergency text/SMS notification purposes. This includes cellphone numbers on file in the Banner student system and the UCPath employee system. 

How will the Dec. 9 ENS update impact students, faculty, and staff members?

The first time a current student, faculty, or staff member logs in to UCR's Central Authentication Service on or after Dec. 9, 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).

Moving forward, this ENS phone number verification process will repeat annually on Sept. 15. Why are these changes being made?

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.

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 Dec. 9. 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.