Notification at UNCG

UNCG has specific requirements intended to help us keep our students and employees informed about threats to their safety and health in a manner that allows them to protect themselves. Below reflects the differences between emergency alerts and timely warnings (safety message) and the different requirements surrounding each type of alert. To read the University Policy on Notification, visit:

Emergency Alert

The UNCG Police and/or other campus first responders may become aware of a critical incident or other emergency situation that potentially affects the health and/or safety of the campus community. Generally, campus first responders become aware of these situations when they are reported to the UNCG Police or upon discovery during regular patrols and other assignments.

Once first responders confirm that there is, in fact, an emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of some or all members of the campus community, UNCG Police Communication Center will prepare an emergency message. The university’s authorized representatives will immediately initiate all or some portions of the emergency notification system. If, in the professional judgment of first responders, issuing a notification potentially compromises efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency, the University may elect to delay issuing an emergency notification. As soon as the condition that may compromise efforts is no longer present, the University will issue the emergency notification to the campus community, if the threat is still imminent. 

When is an Emergency Alert Necessary?

Under Clery, UNCG is required to immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus. An “immediate” threat as used here encompasses an imminent or impending threat, such as an approaching forest fire, as well as a fire currently raging in one of your buildings. Some other examples of significant emergencies or dangerous situations are:

  • Outbreak of meningitis, norovirus or other serious illness.
  • Approaching tornado, hurricane or other extreme weather conditions.
  • Earthquake.
  • Gas leak.
  • Terrorist incident.
  • Armed intruder.
  • Bomb threat.
  • Civil unrest or rioting.
  • Explosion.

Determining the Contents of the Emergency Notification

The office responsible for issuing the emergency notification (usually UNCG Police) will, in concert with university and local first responders, determine the contents of the notification. The University has developed a wide range of template messages addressing several different emergency situations. The individual authorizing the alert will select the template message most appropriate to the on-going situation and modify it to address the specifics of the present incident. In cases where there is no pre-determined template message in the system, the individual authorizing the alert will develop the most succinct message to convey the appropriate information to the community. The goal is to ensure individuals are aware of the situation and that they know the steps to take to safeguard their personal and community safety.

Procedures Used to Notify the University Community

In the event of a situation that poses an immediate threat to members of the campus community, UNCG has various systems in place for communicating information quickly. Some or all of these methods of communication may be activated in the event of emergency notification to all or a segment of the university community. These methods of communication may include: the university’s homepage, Spartan Alert, social media sites, emails and text messages to cellular devices. The university will post updates during a critical incident on the Spartan Alert page. If the situation warrants, the university will establish a telephone call-in center to communicate with the university community during an emergency situation.

Safety Message

The Clery Act requires UNCG to alert the campus community to certain crimes in a manner that is timely and will aid in the prevention of similar crimes. Although Clery does not define “timely,” because the intent of a warning regarding a criminal incident(s) is to enable people to protect themselves this means that a warning should be issued as soon as the pertinent information is available. This is critical; it’s expected that even if UNCG doesn’t have all of the facts surrounding a criminal incident or incidents, a warning will be issued. A follow up will be issued with additional information as it becomes available.

Crimes Subject to a Safety Message

UNCG must issue a safety message (timely warning) for any Clery Act crime that occurs on your Clery geography that is:

  • Reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies; and
  • Is considered by the institution to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.

Safety Message are not limited to violent crimes or crimes against persons. Safety messages can be issued for threats to persons or to property. For example, it’s possible to have a rash of residence hall burglaries or motor vehicle thefts that merit a warning because they present a continuing threat to your campus community. A number of incidents involving the possession of “date rape” drugs may also trigger the need for a warning.

When Will a Safety Message Be Issued?

All available information known at the time will be taken into consideration when evaluating the need for a safety message. Those considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • A Clery crime is reported to the UNCG Police. For a current list of Clery crimes visit,
  • When and where the incident occurred,
  • When it was reported,
  • The duration of time between the alleged occurrence and the report,
  • The relationship between the victim and the alleged perpetrator,
  • The risk of identifying the victim,
  • Whether the crime represents a pattern (has occurred two or more times within a specific area or period of time),
  • Whether there is a substantial risk to the physical safety or property of others,
  • The number and location of students and employees present on campus,
  • The crime occurs within UNCG’s Clery geography.

Although each case will be evaluated on an individual basis, the University may choose not to issue safety messages when one or more of the following factors are present.

  • A report is filed more than seven (7) days after the date of the alleged incident;
  • A report is filed anonymously, by a third party, not made in good faith, or there is insufficient information to determine the accuracy of the report;
  • Pertinent information has not been acquired;
  • The suspect has been apprehended or a determination has been made that the suspect has been removed from campus to such a geographic extent that there is no serious or ongoing threat;
  • Any other factors that the Chief of Police or designee deems appropriate for the circumstances.

If in the professional judgment of the UNCG Police, issuing a safety message would compromise law enforcement efforts to address the crime, the notification may be delayed or information may be limited. Once the potentially compromising situation has been addressed and if the threat still exists, a safety message will be issued.

Procedures Used to Notify the University Community

In an effort to provide timely notice to the campus community in the event that a situation arises, either on or off campus, that in the judgment of the Chief of Police or his designee, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat, a campus wide safety message will be issued. The warning will be issued through the university emergency notification system to students, faculty, and staff via an email message and text message in cases that pose an imminent threat to campus. If available, the safety message will provide details of the crime, a description of the suspect, and information that will aid in the prevention of similar incidents, including safety information and protective steps. UNCG Police may omit some information from the safety message if providing it could identify the victim or compromise law enforcement efforts to respond.

For further information and examples of safety messages, please refer to Chapter 6 of The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting.

Emergency Alerts and Safety Messages: Sorting Out the Differences

Emergency Alert

Scope: Wide focus on any significant emergency or dangerous situation (may include Clery crimes).

Why: Emergency notification is triggered by an event that is currently occurring on or imminently threatening the campus. Initiate emergency notification procedures for any significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.

Where: Applies to situations that may cause an imminent threat to your campus, no matter the location.

When: Initiate procedures immediately upon confirmation that a dangerous situation or emergency exists or threatens.

Safety Message

Scope: Narrow focus on Clery crimes.

Why: Safety messages are triggered by crimes that have already occurred but represent an ongoing threat. Issue a safety message for any Clery crime committed on your Clery geography that is reported to your campus security authorities or a local law enforcement agency and is considered by the institution to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.

Where: Applies to crimes that occur anywhere in your Clery geography.

When: Issue a warning as soon as the pertinent information is available.

The law specifies that “an institution that follows its emergency notification procedures is not required to issue a safety message based on the same circumstances; however, the institution must provide adequate follow-up information to the community as needed.”

What is Spartan Alert?

The University Emergency Notification System is a communication tool used to notify the campus community about any situation or condition that could threaten the safety of individuals on campus. There are three types of messages delivered by the system:

  • Alerts (Emergency Alerts) – An incident or condition that requires immediate attention.
  • Safety Messages (Timely Warnings) – A message sent to inform the UNCG community of general safety information about crimes that have already occurred but represent an ongoing threat to campus.
  • Test Messages – The system integrity is being tested.

The Emergency Notification System is designed to have overlapping methods of delivery that includes: Text messages, Twitter, Facebook, emails, network pop-ups, intercoms and outdoor public address system. Our goal is to keep you informed and safe.

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