Our View: St. Edward’s University did not use its best judgment with alerts last week

Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week the editorial board are Viewpoints editors Erin Downey and Eleanor Fishbourne.

Whether it was a test or a malfunction, St. Edward’s University’s decision to send out a series of alarming SEU Alerts saying there was a homicide and aggravated assault on campus to students did not make any sense.

Mischelle Diaz, university director of communications, said that a malfunction caused the alerts to be issued. However, a text sent minutes after the original aggravated assault message said the SEU Alerts were only tests. So was it a test or a malfunction?

It seems like decisionmakers were not on the same page.

There are questions that still remain: Why isn’t the cause of the text consistent among university officials? Was this really a test or was it a malfunction? Students deserve answers, not inconsistency from university officials.

Looking back on this, it is obvious that the texts and emails were just templates.

However, that was definitely not most students’ first thoughts when presented with such alarming information, especially after there being a real aggravated assault on campus just last semester.

If the university meant to send it as just a test, it should have been labeled as a test. Giving students a sense of fear by accident should never happen. Some students took the SEU Alerts very seriously and didn’t show up to class.

Although the alerts seemed to lack information, students assumed this was a real situation and had every right to do so.

This whole situation was a failure on the part of the university.

While tests are necessary and the messages were not real, these messages seriously sent some people into panic mode, and that is not okay.

Then there is the confusion surrounding whether there was a malfunction or if these texts were purposefully sent.

If it be the former, testing the system is necessary, but students should be notified beforehand. This just shows that the test was most likely a malfunction or worse: an accident.

Accidents happen and system tests are necessary but this blunder caused some real panic and should have been more directly addressed. We can respect that the university did admit its mistakes and there was a follow up text sent pretty quickly after the first one went out. Yet, there is still a large amount of speculation about what really happened.

After the fact, it is quite comical and many students posted funny statuses about it over social media. Although this was a seriously scary issue, we are also inclined to look at it now and laugh, glad that students can see the blunder in that kind of light now.

St. Edward’s is always looking out for students’ well-being and mistakes happen, but in the future we just really hope one like this does not ever happen again.

Perhaps, next time they should follow their best judgment.