By the end of fall semester, current CU Boulder employees will be able to elect to receive certain emergency and campus closure messages in Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional) and Hindi, making it easier for native speakers and readers of these languages to process crucial information quickly, without having to translate it.
Other languages are being reviewed for compatibility with the university’s emergency notification system, RAVE Mobile Safety, and will be considered for addition in the future.
Current CU Boulder faculty and staff will be the first to have the opportunity to select emergency messaging in alternate languages, followed by students in spring 2023. The difference in timing is because employee and student data are housed in separate systems. Students will receive notification and instructions to select language preferences in Buff Portal when this option is available.
Faculty members and student leaders raised the idea for alerts in multiple languages during the last academic year. CU Boulder emergency management officials conducted research to understand the possibilities for the translation project.
The ability to select a preferred language will only apply to the highest level of notification, CU Emergency Alerts, sent via text and email, and will not apply to CU Safety Alerts or CU Advisories. Information on the university’s three notification levels is below.
Employees who wish to select a language other than English for which to receive alerts can simply change their language preferences in MyCUInfo. Employees can ask their departments’ human resources representatives for assistance with the selection process, if needed.
“We would like to thank faculty members and student leaders for raising the idea of providing alerts in various languages. We’re pleased to be able to roll this out so quickly,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Safety and Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst.
Garry DeJong, CU Boulder’s director of Events and Emergency Management Division, said the translation service will be a welcome upgrade. “During conversations with leaders of departments with higher populations of non-native English speakers, it became apparent that providing language options for emergency messaging, in addition to existing 911 translation assistance, could be beneficial.”
Employees can expect to see the changes starting in early December. To provide feedback on user experience, please contact CU Boulder Emergency Management.
As a reminder, CU Boulder has three levels of emergency notifications. CU Emergency Alerts are the highest level of notification, sent when there is a confirmed, immediate threat to the safety of those on campus; life-threatening activity near campus in areas with high student populations; or a change to the university’s operating status due to weather or other issues.
Anyone with a CU Boulder email address will receive CU Emergency Alerts via email. Additionally, mobile phone subscribers will receive texts. To ensure receipt of alerts by text, employees can review and update their contact info via MyCUInfo.
The university sends CU Safety Alerts for certain crimes committed on or near campus, per Clery Act guidelines. The emailed safety alerts, also shared on social media, provide increased community awareness of ongoing or dangerous situations, as well as safety tips.
The university shares CU Advisories for incidents both on and off campus that could potentially impact campus operations or activities, including police activity for non-life threatening incidents near campus, traffic issues or extended power outages. Advisories are sent via social media, on the CU Boulder Police and CU Boulder Alerts Twitter accounts.
All students, faculty, staff, community members, parents and other family members are encouraged to follow CU Boulder Alerts on Twitter and enable push notifications to receive emergency messages for all three levels of alerts. Boulder residents are also encouraged to follow Boulder Police on Twitter.