Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Skidmore College earns A+ for getting word out in emergencies
|Reporter Paul Post took this picture of police|
responding to Monday's bomb scare on the
Skidmore College campus.
No one was hurt, thank goodness, when Skidmore College
faced a couple of recent safety threats — the Oct. 1 lockdown prompted by the presence of an accused
rapist, who was apprehended, and Monday’s bomb scare, which, happily, turned up
nothing and resulted in canceled morning classes. The police did their jobs
well in both cases. And what is also worth noting is how well the school’s
emergency notification system works. The college wasted not a second getting
its warnings out, using texts, email, updates
on skidmore.edu, and
notification via Facebook and Twitter, as well as alerting the region's media. The
notification system worked. In addition, in both recent cases, Skidmore sent
emails to parents after the emergencies were resolved.
I asked the college communications folks for more
details, and Dan Forbush explained that Skidmore has the ability to send an
emergency alert to students and employees simultaneously by phone (converting
the typed message to voice), text, and email, and also deliver it instantly to their
own home page, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. “When an emergency arises,
Campus Safety uses e2campus to summon all the key people to a conference
bridge, so that we’re able to constantly pool our information and determine
essential messages to be transmitted, not only to students, faculty, and staff,
but also to parents. It takes a
lot of teamwork,” Forbush wrote.
After incidents like these, the dean of students and
campus safety director review what went well and what could have done better. “We
always learn a few valuable lessons that help us confront the next emergency
situation, whatever it may be,” Forbush said.
“It’s worth noting that in both of these recent incidents,
students played key roles,” he added. “In the first, students spotted the
intruder and immediately reported it to Campus Safety. In the second, it was a
student who found the threatening note and brought to Campus Safety. We
appreciate their vigilance and assistance.”
We appreciate the students’ vigilance, too, as well as the
good work of the college and police.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Election Night focuses on the Internet
It’s 1:30 a.m., way too late to be blogging for someone who’s
been up since 6 a.m. and has to be back at this desk in seven hours. But we just wrapped up Election Night online coverage, and I
wanted to tell you how proud I am of the way our staff turned around results
for readers of TroyRecord.com and Saratogian.com and followers on Twitter and
A number of races were uncontested and several weakly
contested – but some were hard-fought campaigns that could have gone either way
till all the ballots were in. Keeping tabs on results kept reporters at their
various campaign locations and the handful of editors at The Record and The
Saratogian (Lisa Lewis, Chelsea Kruger, Paul Tackett, Lianne Kim and Karen
Wallingford -- yes, you can count us on one hand) hopping from the time the polls
closed till past midnight. We wanted to be able to tell you who won the local
races, as well as what was happening nationally.
To be sure, it’s weird to publish print editions before the
polls close. Even after a couple of election cycles with the deadline, I don’t
like having a morning paper without last night’s results. But that
did free us tonight to concentrate on being where most readers are: on the Internet.
As for the campaigns: I’d like to say kudos to all the
candidates who cared enough about their community, state and country to run for
office; and congratulations to those who won. I’m so glad the robo-calls and
mailings will be on hold for a few months. And I’m glad to say that I picked
some winners when I voted Tuesday morning.