Posted September 14, 2023

Temple University Public Safety updates TUalerts messaging system with color-coded emails

Temple University’s new color-coded safety alert system will improve student and parents’ awareness about on-campus emergencies, according to Vice President for Public Safety Jennifer Griffin. The change was made at the request of parents.

An image of the Communication Center in the Department of Public Safety.
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
When TUalerts are now sent from the Department of Public Safety’s Communication Center, they will arrive in email inboxes in a new color-coded format.

Temple University’s emergency notification system, TUalerts, will now incorporate color-coded headlines when delivered by email to quickly show the severity of situations that happen within the patrol zone. The update goes into effect later this month and makes Temple one of the only universities in the country to incorporate color-coded alerts. 

The idea was first proposed by the parent-led group Temple University Safety Advocates (TUSA) to Temple’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

“Parents asked for it, and we delivered,” said Vice President for Public Safety Jennifer Griffin. “The new color-coded emails will quickly alert students, faculty, staff and parents whether or not there is an immediate threat and the severity of it.”

TUalerts sent by email will feature one of three colors. Red refers to an emergency incident. Yellow refers to updates or informational events. Green signals an incident is over and police have cleared the area. The colors will only appear in the headlines of email alerts, since text messaging does not have the ability to incorporate color. 

An image of what an email TUAlert will look like.

TUalerts sent by email will now be color coded. Here is an example of what a red alert will look like, which will be used for emergency incidents.

“We are pleased that university administrators, after considering feedback from students and families, acted on our concerns about campus safety and the alert system,” said Fadia Halma, co-chair of TUSA. “The university’s new color-coded safety notification system will enhance students’ ability to respond appropriately to emergencies both on and around campus.” 

“I believe parents and students will be very happy with this change,” added Joan Begliomini, co-chair of TUSA. She also said that “additional context would allow students to take appropriate precautions without inciting panic.”

To further improve communication, DPS will also now increase the frequency with which TUalerts are disseminated during certain ongoing emergency situations. The change was made as officials within Public Safety examined communications efforts at other universities. 

For example, if Temple experienced an active shooting situation, TUalerts would be sent on a continuous basis until police issued an “all clear.”  

“Keeping the community informed is critical to transparency and the safety of our community,” said Joshua Nussbaum, deputy director of emergency management at Temple Public Safety. “In an emergency situation, having continuous TUalerts would do just that—keep students informed and improve awareness. These changes will make our Temple community more aware.”

Nate Weinberg is a member of a student-led group called Keep Us Safe TU. He said the changes are a positive improvement. 

“It’s very reassuring … because at the end of the day, it’s the Temple community faced with these challenges,” Weinberg said.

TUalerts are used to communicate when there is a hazard or immediate threat on campus or within the university patrol zone that requires immediate action on the part of the campus community. TUalerts also inform students about inclement weather and campus closures. 

To sign up for TUalerts or to see if you already are, visit the TUalert website.