Published: Aug. 24, 2023

When a life-threatening incident occurs off campus in heavily student-populated areas, and university police can confirm details with Boulder police, those registered to receive the university’s emergency notifications will continue to receive updates from campus as part of CU Boulder’s expanded alert zones. 

The expansion started as a pilot program in October 2022 and will be assessed annually to ensure it is meeting the needs of the campus community.

The expansion encompasses areas near campus that are outside the geography for which the university is required to send emergency notifications as defined by the Clery Act but dense with student populations. 

Map depicting the expanded emergency alert area

Click here to zoom in on the map (PDF), which shows the expanded alert area. 

The expanded alert area includes the University Hill neighborhood, the Goss Grove neighborhood near Folsom Street and Canyon Boulevard, the Lower Chautauqua neighborhood and the residential area north of Williams Village called Baseline Sub.  

Campus and Boulder community members can provide feedback on the trial expansion by contacting CU Boulder Emergency Management.

During an event, the decision to send alerts within the expanded notification boundaries will be made depending on the severity of the incident as well as the location, distance from campus and student population density. University police will work in partnership with Boulder Police police to confirm and share details of off-campus incidents.

The expansion is in response to feedback from campus affiliates, who expressed the need for more information on life-threatening incidents that occur in nearby residential areas popular with students, such as the Hill. CU Boulder police and Boulder police continue to work closely together during emergency situations that could impact the campus community.

“We heard our stakeholders’ desire for more information on life and safety issues not just on campus but also nearby, which led to the pilot expansion,” said CU Boulder Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Safety and Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst. “We’ve received positive feedback from students, their parents and employees of the university, leading to our decision to continue the program, while assessing its effectiveness.”

Once CU Boulder police are aware of any life-threatening emergencies in the newly designated off-campus neighborhoods and have confirmed details with the lead investigating agency, 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, students are reminded to add or update their mobile phone numbers in the Buff Portal. Employees can review and update their contact info via MyCUInfo.

The 3 levels of emergency notifications

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 or in the expanded alert area, off campus, or a change to the university’s operating status due to weather or other issues. 

The university sends CU Safety Alerts for certain crimes committed on or near campus, per Clery Act guidelines. The emailed safety alerts 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 CU Boulder Police and CU Boulder Alerts social media accounts. 

All students, faculty, staff, community members, parents and other family members are encouraged to follow CU Boulder Alerts on social media and enable push notifications to receive emergency messages for all three levels of alerts. Boulder residents are also encouraged to follow the Boulder Police Department on social media. 

The expansion is part of ongoing efforts to best inform campus community members during emergencies. Last fall, all students, faculty and staff with Boulder addresses were added to the countywide emergency alert system Everbridge. The university also provided options for students, faculty and staff to receive alerts in languages other than English.

CU Boulder alerts and advisories timeline graphic

Image showing the flow of information during incidents occurring off campus. When an incident is reported near campus, Boulder Police respond and CU Boulder Police assist. Boulder Police may alert the community via Twitter or Everbridge, while CU Boulder Police confirm information then send an advisory or emergency alert.