CCU reviews alert system used during shooting

Students and faculty were notified about the shooting at a housing community near Coastal Carolina University through text messages, emails and Facebook, but some students say they wanted the information faster.

Coastal Carolina's public affairs director Martha Hunn says the information was distributed through somewhat of a command center set up on campus so staff could keep track of developments.

Hunn explained that the university sent its first two text alerts out at 8 p.m. and 8:14 p.m., just over 30 minutes after the shooting was reported.

"The first one communicated about the fact that there was an active shooter incident, stay indoors. The second one clarified that now this is no longer an active shooter incident but stay indoors," Hunn said.

They waited to send the text alerts because they wanted to get information from police, Hunn added.

The initial alert didn't filter to the email system, so a separate email was sent, according to an incident report.

The first email was sent at 9:16 p.m, according to Hunn.

The last notification was sent to students around 12:40 a.m.

Megan Smith, a student at Coastal Carolina, says since she is not registered for the text alerts, a Resident Advisor should have been monitoring the building and telling students to stay inside.

Hannah Varga, a CCU student, wanted more emails during the situation.

"I think a lot of people especially have their emails hooked up to their phones so it would be almost the same as getting the text messages if you weren't signed up for it so I think it would reach a wider audience," Varga said.

But Hunn says they got out as much information as they could as often as possible.

"We have that emergency preparedness plan and that plan was in place, and everything that we're supposed to be doing we were doing."

Hunn says they are assessing their response to the shooting, but that there's no set time to decide on any changes or improvements.

Still, she says, she hopes they do it sooner rather than later, while it's fresh in their minds.