U Of Miami’s Text Alert Gaffe Makes The Twitterverse Gasp

Monday, December 10, 2012

The University of Miami’s Emergency Notification Network exists to alert students and faculty of a safety threat — an oncoming hurricane, for example, or maybe an armed gunman.

But the text message that went out to the UM community Wednesday night contained a different sort of warning:

“Black male on campus,” UM proclaimed. “Wearing black and white tennis shoes, white shirt w/blk writing, black shorts.”

The message was related to a stolen laptop computer, but, in an apparent administrative glitch, UM’s text alert made no mention of an actual crime. That left some to wonder whether UM was suggesting that being a black man on campus was in and of itself somehow suspicious or wrong — otherwise, why would anyone need the urgent heads-up about it?

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