Code Purple loses phone number

By Ashley Inge

Managing Editor

On Friday, June 29, an automated process in Code Purple failed, causing several phone numbers from users in the system to be deleted.

According to tarleton.edu, Code Purple is a state-of-the-art emergency notification system that gives Tarleton State University the ability to communicate health and safety emergency information quickly, regardless of an individual’s location. Users will receive notifications through text message and email of closings or delays due to weather, crime, or other events that pose a threat to those on or coming to campus.

A total of 1,322 faculty and staff were impacted which is approximately 8 percent of the total users registered in Code Purple. No students were affected.

Kent Styron, director of risk management and compliance, said, “It was only a small population within the campus community and no students’ information was lost.”

Becky Gray, chief information officer in the information technology services, said the accounts were deleted on the evening of Friday, June 29 and were automatically recreated at 3 a.m. on Saturday, June 30.

“The faculty and staff impacted by this event were automatically registered in Code Purple with their Tarleton email address for emergency notifications,” Gray said.

Code Purple is a state-of-the-art emergency notification system that gives Tarleton State University the ability to communicate health and safety emergency information quickly, regardless of an individual’s location.
Photo courtesy of Tarleton State University International Student Orientation SlideShare

Although phone numbers were lost for many faculty and staff, it is actually up to the individual to add their contact information to their account. In order to receive text messages, students and faculty have to activate their phone through e2campus

“That’s the challenge. We provide information from time to time that kind’ve explains the importance of individuals going in there and adding their cell phone number to their account, but ultimately, it’s up to the individual user within Code Purple to do that,” Styron said.

Each individual affected by the automated process fail has been contacted via email with instructions on how to update their notification preferences in Code Purple.

“They (Information Technology Services) have reached out to those individuals from faculty and staff that were in the population group and it appears we’ve had a number of people respond and (have) already updated their account,” Styron said.

Styron also explained the reason the decision is left to the individual on whether or not they want their cell phone number in their Code Purple account.

“The reason we ask the individual user to update their account (is because) people change their cell phone numbers and their carriers constantly on a regular basis,” Styron said. “We don’t have any way of knowing if you were to change your cell number or if you were to change your carrier from AT&T to T-Mobile and that could affect you getting a message through text if you didn’t maintain that — that’s why the responsibility should fall back on the individual user.”

Almost all of the information that was lost has now been restored and Gray added that, “corrective measures have been implemented to eliminate the possibility of this re-occurring.”

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