Who can sign up to receive VCU alerts?
All VCU students, faculty and staff with an assigned eID will be given the opportunity to opt in or opt out of the VCU Alert text messaging system when logging in to online VCU services via the Central Authentication Service. Additionally, friends of the VCU community, including parents, media and area residents, can subscribe to receive VCU Alert text and email messages.
What information do I have to share to sign up for the VCU Alert text messaging system?
For VCU students, faculty and staff, all necessary information is incorporated into your eID. For friends of the VCU community, the VCU Alert system requires the creation of a username, which we will append to “vcu_” (e.g., a username that is entered as “jdoe” will actually be “vcu_jdoe”). Also, first name, last name, mobile phone number and carrier are required. We also strongly encourage friends of the VCU community to add an email address to their VCU Alert account as an additional point of contact after their cellphone is validated. After your account is set up, you can log in with your username and password.
Why did I receive an alert well after the actual crime occurred?
VCU Police distribute crime alerts as soon as a clear and accurate picture of the event is noted. The timing of crime alerts is complicated, as victims often delay reporting crimes or have difficulty reporting circumstances or facts that are necessary to distribute the alert. Consequently, there may be a delay between when the crime occurred and when a public notification was disseminated.
I am subscribed to the VCU Alert text messaging system but did not receive an alert.
There are a variety of issues that may be occurring. If you have recently changed your cellular provider or updated your cellular plan (e.g., switched to unlimited text messages), you may need to update your VCU Alert account information. We have also found that some carriers will block short-code bulk SMS messages on unlimited text message or prepaid cellular accounts. If you recently switched your plan or carrier, it is a good idea to contact your carrier and ask whether the carrier is blocking bulk short-code SMS text messages on your account.
Account holders will receive a text message 30 days prior to the expiration date for the account on their cellphone so that they can log in and extend their subscription.
Will changing my cellular service provider impact how I receive a VCU Alert text message?
Yes. The VCU Alert text messaging system is based on a number associated with a particular carrier. When one or the other changes, it causes an error in the system. If you have changed your plan, update your VCU Alert account based on your status at VCU:
VCU students, faculty and staff
Log in to the myVCU portal and click the “Manage Emergency Alerts” link on the left side of the page under the General Resources section. You will be able to add or remove cellphones and email addresses on your account under the “Services” tab.
Friends of the VCU community (parents, media and area residents)
Log in to your account. You will be able to add or remove cellphones and email addresses on your account under the “Services” tab.
Why am I receiving a message stating that my VCU Alert account is expiring?
VCU Alert accounts expire every two years to ensure accountability of users and system accuracy. Expiring accounts receive notifications 30 days before expiration to ensure renewal is timely and efficient.
When should I expect to receive notifications?
Notifications are sent out for three reasons: emergencies, crimes and local information. Notifications are timed and distributed at the discretion of the VCU Incident Commander. The only exception is immediately life-threatening situations in which the VCU Police chief or his designee has the discretion to send out notifications.
How will I know when the text message is from VCU Alert?
All VCU Alert text messages originate from either 79516, 70359 or 84483 and start with “FR: VCU Alert….”
Is it possible to receive VCU Alert notifications only when I am on campus?
No. The VCU Alert system currently cannot be limited to time or location.
Is it possible to receive VCU Alert notifications only during normal business hours or just at nighttime?
No. The VCU Alert system currently cannot be limited by time or location. However, it is possible to place call and message restrictions on many cellphone devices such as those running Google Android and Apple iOS that restrict when messages are received. Consult your phone manufacturer or carrier for details on Android phones. Details on Apple’s “do not disturb” feature can be found on the Apple website.