The University of Kentucky has created a Twitter account to alert off-campus students of safety concerns after it was previously criticized for not disclosing a reported attempted sexual assault in a nearby neighborhood.
The account, @ukyoffcampus, is the result of discussions between UK police and students about how to better inform people of off-campus emergencies, according to university officials. The account will not be tied to the existing UK Alert system and will not replace UK Alerts.
The account will release notifications when UK officials are made aware of safety concerns in areas surrounding campus where heavy concentrations of students are known to live, according to officials. Students are being encouraged to set up their phones to receive text messages or push notifications any time the account tweets.
“Whether students are on or off campus, we want to do what we can to provide timely information, when possible,” UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said in a statement. “This is one more tool we can utilize to help inform students and others.”
Step-by-step guides on how to set up iPhones, Androids and other phones to automatically notify users of tweets from the safety account were also released by the university. Find those here.
The university drew some criticism in September, when it didn’t notify students of a reported attempted sexual assault that occurred in a neighborhood near campus. At the time, university officials said a notification wasn’t sent because the situation was not an immediate threat and didn’t meet the parameters for a UK Alert.