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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Western Alert email sent to spam inboxes

By Zoe Buchli and  Tris Anderson

Following the death of a 23-year-old man at Wade King Recreation Center last Friday, Jan. 25, a WWU Campus Advisory emailed to students went to many people’s spam inboxes rather than their main inbox, leaving them without further details regarding the incident.

An alert was originally sent via text to students notifying them that someone had died at the rec center and that more information would be sent out via email. Students took to social media to voice concern regarding how vague the text notification was, and how they were unable to find the following email for more information.

Sky Bressette, a computer assistant with ATUS, commented on the alert confusion via email.

“This is a known issue that happened this one time after we updated some of our systems, the Western Alert System uses some older technology that essentially spoofs a WWU Email address,” Bressette said. “Typically we had rules for when an email is sent from that server, it would not go in to junk.”

Third-year Jaclyn Samson said she was off campus when she got the alert.

“[The alert] made me feel like there was a shooter,” she said. “If I was on campus and I got that alert I would be pretty terrified.”

Samson said she and her friends were all freaking out in their group chat, and didn’t know what kind of emergency was taking place when they saw fire trucks pass by.

“Just saying someone died at the rec center, like you don’t really know under what circumstances,” Samson said.  

Fourth-year Nicole Dotlich said that she found the campus advisory in her spam folder.

“I didn’t know it was sent to my spam folder until someone said something,” Dotlich said.

Dotlich said she is also frustrated with the lack of follow up from Western following the death on Friday.

“It’s really frustrating this important event happened and it’s now 4:30 [p.m.] on Monday with no follow-up,” Dotlich said.

Director of University Communications and Marketing Paul Cocke said in an email there is a possibility of a follow-up advisory.

Bressette said the issue has been resolved and future alerts will not be sent to students’ spam folders.

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