After receiving several reports of a non-CU text alert received by some affiliates yesterday, campus officials began an investigation with the vendor that provides our text alert system, RAVE Mobile Safety. Searches in social media further revealed that the same message was being received by affiliates at many universities across the United States.
The text messages were sent by the same short-form phone number that sends CU Boulder Alerts and referred to an evacuation at “University Prak.” It also did not indicate that they were a “CU Alert,” which you will always see at the beginning of any official text message alert from CU Boulder. Affiliates received the messages after 7 p.m. on Oct. 5.
Subsequent investigation by the vendor determined that the academic institution that initiated the text message had an error in its contact database which included all users – past and present – affiliated with the Texas institution. That means that current CU Boulder students who used to have affiliation with the Texas college system may have received the alert. The legitimate evacuation message pertaining to an emergency in Texas was sent erroneously to people no longer affiliated with their campuses.
The vendor is implementing failsafes to prevent this occurrence for future messaging, and further will be implementing a standard used by the Boulder campus for many years: an identifying institution name at the beginning of all alerts.
“All Rave systems are fully secure and operating at full capacity,” said the company in a statement.
The confusion caused by the inaccurate text alert was addressed in updates via the CU Boulder Twitter and Facebook accounts last night.