Technical error sends out threat alert to UW-Whitewater students - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Technical error sends out threat alert to UW-Whitewater students and staff

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WHITEWATER (WKOW) -- UW-Whitewater police are bringing in technical experts to figure out why an active threat alert was sent out to students and staff.

The email sent the campus into panic. 

It said 'There is an active threat to life safety on campus, run, hide, fight!'
 
"It's the worst case scenario," said UW-Whitewater police chief Matt Kiederlen. "It's the one thing none of us ever want to have to deal with." 

Chief Kiederlen wasn't on campus when the message about the active threat went out.

"My biggest concern at first was, is something happening?" said Kiederlen. "Once we established that something wasn't happening I needed to figure out how do I get messaging out?"

Seven minutes after the first email, a second email and a post on the campus website said there was no threat.

Classes just ended on Friday. Exams are this week so students are still on campus. 

In addition to the email, there was an alarm that continued to go off throughout campus for a half hour. 

"I pulled out my roommate's pool cue and I was like walking around with it like a baseball bat," said freshman Jack Bolog.  

Bolog assumed the worst.

"I figured it was a school shooter because you just hear about that all the time," said Bolog. 

Another freshman was in the basement of a building studying for finals with a friend when she head the alarm go off.  

"We need to barricade the doors so at first I pushed a chair in front of it," said freshman Josephine Nettum. "Then I was like, no there's a window, so I got a table and I flipped it up so it covered part of the window." 
 
Nettum didn't have a chance to look at her email and the alarm kept sounding. 

"We went and crouched in the corner and she called 9-1-1 and I called my dad," said Nettum.  "My legs were shaking but I didn't cry because I said no crying." 

Although Nettum was scared, police say she did what they would have wanted her to do. 

"Always take it seriously if it does go off," said Chief Kiederlen.  

For their campus safety alerts, UW-Whitewater uses a Cisco system that's managed internally by the Information and Technology Department. Not all UW campuses use the same system. UW-Madison uses a different system called Rave Mobile Safety.  

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