FIU President Demands Changes to Emergency Alert Policy

MIAMI—It took more than 80 minutes for Florida International University (FIU) officials to notify students of the stabbing of a university football player—or that the killer still remained at large, according to a new report.

The report, submitted by FIU College of Law R. Alexander Acosta, said the March 25 slaying of Kendall Berry occurred no later than 9:03 that night. However, the school did not send out an audio or text message alert until 10:24 and 10:28, respectively, reports the Miami Herald.

The report says that by the time students received the message, the suspect, Quentin Wyche, had long fled the scene. Moreover, 4,600 of the nearly 22,000 students, faculty and staff who registered for emergency text messages did not receive the alert.

Wyche, who turned himself in March 26, is suspected of stabbing the 22-year-old Berry in the chest with an eight-inch pair of scissors. He has been charged with second-degree murder, although his attorney maintains he acted in self defense.

As a result of the report, FIU President Mark Rosenberg has demanded specific changes to the school’s emergency management/alert systems including:

  • Identifying potential emergencies and drafting messages in advance that could be sent out quickly and with minimal levels of authorization
  • Determining the cause of the failed text messages and conducting an immediate review of their effectiveness after each future use
  • Implementing a policy in which all members of the university community are signed up to receive those texts
  • Developing an emergency notification call list with a clear chain.

 The changes are to be implemented no later than June 1, which is the start of hurricane season.

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