Vassar College active shooter alert causes concern; college sent warning by mistake

Vassar College active shooter alert causes concern; college sent warning by mistake

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – A warning of “shots fired” was sent to subscribers of the Vassar College Emergency Notification and Campus Communication system on Monday morning at 7:40 a.m.  The alert that caused concern was admittedly sent by mistake, a college official has said.

The emergency alert, which was sent via text, email, and automated phone message said:

Vassar Alert:  Report of shots fired at {LOCATION}.  Seek safe shelter, lock windows/doors.  Run, Hide, Fight.  More information to follow.

At 7:50 a.m. the college sent out a follow-up alert saying:

Vassar Alert:  Accidental Alert sent, there is no active alert for the campus.
Again, there is no alert for the campus.

At 8:01 a.m., a second follow-up message was issued using the same platforms, from Arlene Sabo, the Safety and Security Director for Vassar College.

Arlene Sabo, Director of Security at Vassar College. Photo provided by college.

The communication from the director said:

Dear All,

Please know that the incorrect alert test was accidentally sent out.  Testing the system dailyis part of the Campus Response Center duties and the incorrect alertwas accidentally chosen and accidentally sent out.  THERE IS NO EMERGENCY.
We apologize for any alarm and inconvenience caused.

Director Sabo
Arlene M. Sabo
Director of Safety&Security

The emergency alert system information provided on the school’s website indicates that the system is tested twice a year and notes that the tests are always announced in advance.

The Vassar College website guidelines for responding to an active shooter alert can be found by clicking here.