MSU Alert System Protocols

The Michigan State University Police Department is responsible for developing and distributing Timely Warning and Emergency Notification messages. These messages are intended to warn the community about certain crimes and notify it of potentially dangerous situations on or near campus. These messages inform community members about incidents that may pose an ongoing threat and provide information to promote safety and prevent similar crimes. The decision to issue a Timely Warning or Emergency Notification is based on a variety of factors.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (or Clery Act) is intended to provide students and their families, as higher education consumers, with accurate, complete and timely information about safety on campus. One of the mandates of the Act is to provide these Timely Warnings and Emergency Notifications to the campus community. These warnings and notifications can be delivered via three main platforms: voice messages to phones, e-mail and SMS text messaging.

This serves as a reminder of why these messages are provided, what they look like and how to manage the information we place into our systems. We have partnered with Blackboard Connect-Ed to provide time-sensitive messages to our community.


MSU is committed to the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Messages can come in a variety of situations: active violence on-campus or in close proximity, weather warnings, threats of hazardous material releases or persons threatening harm. Other outreach messages could involve: extreme temperature events, suspicious persons, property safety messages or similar events.
Through Blackboard Connect-Ed services, exclusive partnerships with telephone and wireless service providers, we will be able to call you, e-mail, and/or send text messages, quickly and easily. Messages could also be posted to the MSU Police Twitter feed and the MSU Police Facebook page.


The Blackboard Connect-Ed system used by MSU is located off campus to maintain availability in the case of power outages, and there are redundant systems located throughout the United States available to MSU.

A Timely Warning is specifically related to compliance with the federal Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to notify students and employees whenever there is a threat that a serious crime is ongoing or may be repeated so campus community members can protect themselves from harm. These messages could be provided using the Blackboard Connect-Ed system or other means of outreach to our community. The Clery Act defines certain specific crimes that require a Timely Warning to be issued when crimes are reported to officials with significant responsibility for student and campus activities, campus safety or the local police AND the reported crime(s) are believed to have occurred on campus or off campus on public property in close proximity to campus.

Some crimes that Clery define that could pose a serious or continuing threat requiring a Timely Warning include:

An Emergency Notification is sent using the Blackboard Connect-Ed system to notify students and employees when it is determined that there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on, or in some cases near campus. That Emergency Notification to the campus community may contain only the information that is reasonably necessary to promote the safety of the campus community as dictated by the situation. An Emergency Notification will be released as soon as reasonably necessary, unless notification will compromise efforts to assist a victim, or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency. After the initial notification, follow-up information may be disseminated to the community via other methods, such as local media, website, e-mails, etc. An Emergency Notification can be related to criminal activity that is not subject to the timely warning standard required by the Clery Act noted above. Examples of situations that may trigger the decision to issue an Emergency Notification include but are not limited to:

It is an important note that we are not able to sort through the data and determine who may or may not be present in the area(s) affected. Message delivery times can vary depending on a variety of factors associated with the different technologies utilized.

Your Data

We receive your data from sources within the university that maintain directory and emergency notification information. For students, we obtain phone numbers and email addresses from the Student Information System. In addition, we receive information from the Registrar’s Office that you submit to the Emergency Contact Information system. Changes to those systems can be made by updating the information in the Registrar’s Office.

For faculty and staff, we obtain your primary phone number (however you designate that in the Enterprise Business Solutions-EBS system) and MSU NetID email address. As a faculty or staff member, you can make changes to that information by contacting the Human Resources office and/or through the EBS employee system. In addition, you are able to add another email and/or a cell phone to also receive SMS text notifications by clicking the LOGIN link to sign in using your MSU Net ID.


MSU maintains student education records and is responsible for their access to and release in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (“FERPA”). It is MSU policy’s to comply with FERPA. Telephone numbers, including cell phones, and e-mail address information maintained within the Blackboard Connect-Ed system, are considered directory information. No other personally identifiable information, confidential or educational records are transferred to the Blackboard Connect-Ed system.

Blackboard Connect-Ed has a commitment to your privacy too. Blackboard Connect-Ed does not sell, trade, or rent client data to others.


Alerts will also be posted to the MSU Police Twitter feed and the MSU Police Facebook page.

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