The unsolved murder of a college student in Madison, a string of robberies near Marquette University and a recent spike in assaults at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have some parents packing summer orientation sessions at local colleges, anxious about students’ safety.
Colleges, in turn, are trying to ease those fears while helping parents take an active role.
In a new twist, UWM parents can now sign up for emergency text alerts on their cell phones, a service that previously has been available only for students, faculty and staff. With only about a fifth of UWM students registered for the S.A.F.E. alerts, administrators are making a harder push this summer to get new freshmen to hand over their cell phone numbers and sign up. Once registered, they would be notified via text message or e-mail in the event of a campus emergency.
UW-Madison administrators are making a similar push to register freshmen for new cell-phone alerts at orientation, although their service is not yet available to parents.
For the hundreds of parents gathered in UWM’s Zelazo Center this week, a few assurances from a campus police officer produced some visible signs of relief.