Letter to campus community regarding overnight interruptions

Dear Stanford community:

We are writing to apologize for a series of interruptions experienced by many members of the campus community in the early morning hours today.  Several issues resulted in disruptions, and the University is working to remedy the situations.

The University's third-party alert system vendor, MissionMode, which provides mass notification services for the Stanford AlertSU program, experienced a technical failure on Tuesday. The vendor failure resulted in a delayed notification Tuesday morning of the evacuation ordered for the Tresidder Union area, and also resulted in a final all-clear message being delivered by telephone during the overnight hours to approximately 50 percent of the Stanford population. Stanford never intended phone alerts to be issued during overnight hours.

Stanford first-responders take the safety and security of the Stanford community very seriously and consider these failures unacceptable. Providing the campus community with accurate, timely information is one of our highest priorities. The University offices responsible for managing the alert system are reviewing all circumstances surrounding the technical failures and will take appropriate corrective action.

In a separate incident, some members of the campus residential community were awakened by a loud noise from the Cardinal Cogen facility overnight.  A malfunctioning valve caused a loud release of steam. While the situation was not dangerous, it took some time to repair. The Cardinal Cogen plant is currently operated by third-party contractors. The aging facility will be replaced in 2015, when the new campus SESI facility opens.

Finally, we are aware that many members of the Stanford community may also have received one or more Amber Alerts yesterday afternoon and into the early morning hours today. These alerts are issued by government agencies in response to child abduction incidents that meet Amber Alert criteria. They are issued through public broadcast systems, television, radio, highway traffic signs and cellular networks. More information is available on the Amber Alert system's website.

We apologize for the unfortunate timing of these events, and for the disruption created for many individuals. The University greatly values your cooperation and participation in our emergency alert programs.  We are working to develop the most efficient systems possible to provide timely notifications to our University community.


Larry Gibbs
Associate Vice Provost
Environmental Health and Safety

Laura Wilson
Chief of Police and Director
Department of Public Safety

Lisa Lapin
Associate Vice President
University Communications