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Activation of AlertSU system provides reminder of actions during a campus emergency

The AlertSU system was activated Thursday afternoon after police were advised there was a man carrying a gun on the Main Quad, but the alert was quickly canceled after police determined there was no firearm.

Laura Wilson, chief of police in the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, praised the reaction of the campus community and emphasized that community members are always encouraged to report suspicious activity to 911, even if unconfirmed.

"Everyone involved in this situation acted quickly, allowing us to resolve it quickly," Wilson said. "This occurrence also provides a reminder of the importance of calling 911 whenever an emergency situation may be present, and of taking immediate steps to protect your personal safety if you are in the area of a reported incident."

Wilson said that shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, several persons saw a man wearing a dark sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head carrying a backpack with what appeared to be a long gun extending from it. Stanford deputies intercepted the individual a few minutes later and determined that the object, though resembling a rifle, was an umbrella.

An AlertSU text message was sent to the campus community within 6 minutes of the initial report, urging people to stay away from the area. A follow-up text message was sent shortly afterward, confirming that there was no gun and that it was safe to return to the area.

In an event like the one Thursday, Wilson said, those nearby should retreat to a safe location within a building, lock doors and windows, stay behind objects that provide some level of protection, and avoid standing near glass or in plain view. In a more extended emergency than the one Thursday, follow-up instructions would be provided via the AlertSU system.

Campus Emergency Manager Keith Perry provided more information on responses to an active threat in a Q&A this spring with Stanford Report.

Members of the campus community are encouraged to have current contact information registered with the AlertSU system to facilitate quick communication in the event of a campus emergency. An individual's contact information can be updated on the StanfordYou website.