Austin-area colleges explain ‘false’ emergency texts

False text message alert (KXAN Photo)
False text message alert (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — At 8:27 p.m. Wednesday, Lone Star College in Houston told students to evacuate a building because of a gas leak, but students at the University of Texas, St. Edward’s, Austin Community College and Texas State got it as well.

“It was very vague and Texas State University did not send this out,” said Jayme Blaschke from Texas State Communications. He says during the investigation, University Police found all the students who got the text went to Lone Star College at one time.

Lone Star College confirms they messed up twice. The first message was too vague and they had an inaccurate database of phone numbers. They never got rid of the phone numbers of students who moved on.

“Lone Star College has former and online students throughout the state of Texas and across the country. We are in the process of reviewing our database and are reviewing alert procedures to ensure timely information is sent to those who need to receive it,” wrote Jed T. Young, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing, Lone Star College, in a statement

A look at other schools 

When the University of Texas police respond to an emergency, a commander then calls back to dispatch and dispatch sends out an emergency text to the database. The database is maintained by the university’s IT department, HR and the Dean of Students. It’s their responsibility to make sure they have the correct information to everyone’s phones.

UT updates their database every month. ACC, every day.

“Text and email alerts are sent simultaneously through the RAVE Alert emergency notification system. These alerts are designed to provide clear and concise messaging. Alert text messages begin with “ACC” and the name of the applicable campus. Alert emails are clearly identified as coming from “ACC Emergency Alert” and include a date and time stamp. Messages are distributed to currently enrolled students as well as currently employed faculty and staff; a database which is refreshed daily,” said Jessica Vess in a statement.

Jayme Blaschke from Texas State says you should always treat emergency alerts seriously. And, if you are confused, call campus police.

“If they don’t have the Texas State alert then they should follow up and ascertain the veracity of that,” said Blaschke. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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