This is only a test: Rutgers campus freak-out after gunman alert issued
NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University created a stir on Thursday with an "RU ALERT" text warning of an armed suspect near the campus Alexander Library.
The text, sent at 9:42 a.m., asked recipients to "seek a safe space and shield/secure your location."
Although the text also said "TEST TEST" at the bottom of the message, it managed to give plenty of people a scare days after the weekend massacre at the Orlando gay nightclub, the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's history.
Nine minutes after that text, a second message informed: "End training scenario." A third text at 9:56 a.m. explained that previous messages were part of a "planned exercise of the RU emergency management system" and that there was no threat to the campus.
Although Executive Director of Public Safety Kenneth Cop sent the campus community an email on Wednesday announcing the next day's exercise and an expected increase in law enforcement presence around the library, he did not mention that such an alert would be sent out.
Another email was sent out Thursday morning explaining the text.
"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). University Public Safety will be making necessary changes to protocols for future training exercises," Deputy Chief of University Police Michael J. Rein said in the message.
The testing text was not received well by some on campus.