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Viewpoint 12/2: Code Purple

Having an intense wind storm at the end of the semester is, well, inconvenient. Granted, the wind storm was absolutely unavoidable, but many students were faced with a decision when they received the Code Purple warning Thursday telling them to stay within buildings.

“Due to high winds and flying debris, WSU is asking everyone to stay inside campus buildings. Shelter in place.” Students who had signed up to receive Weber State University’s Code Purple warnings received this text at approximately 9:05 a.m. Shortly after that, automated phone calls were made and e-mails sent from Code Purple with the same message.

The same message was posted to WSU’s Facebook page, prompting student discussion on the post. Some students commenting on the post questioned and disliked the “use your own discretion” approach to Code Purple. Some were wondering if their own personal discretion would be the same as that of their professors. Others were wondering how to deal with test dates and reviews. Those coming from their homes wondered if they should even bother driving through the potentially dangerous roads to get to a canceled class. All of these are legitimate worries for students at the end of the semester, no arguing that.

An hour and a half later, another message was sent through all three channels once again — a bit too late for some students who had already made it to campus. This time, the message told students that classes were canceled until 4:30 p.m., giving some of those students preparing to brave the wind and drive to campus enough time to plan accordingly.

Others commented on the amount of warnings they received, saying it was a bit overkill to send it through so many media. Sending the Code Purple message through several different resources might seem obnoxious to some, but having it reach students on several different bases ensures the message is received by as many students as possible in the shortest possible amount of time.

While there was a bit of confusion and frustration for some students, Code Purple’s quick acting to reach a mass audience of students should be commended. While tests and reviews are important, student safety was the main focus today on campus, and that is important.

For students who are not already receiving Code Purple warnings, today’s weather might have changed some minds. As the high winds uprooted trees and broke property all over campus, many students who received the Code Purple warning were able to find a safe place and avoid being injured on campus. The damage caused was mostly unavoidable, but sending the warnings out might have helped with avoiding potential risks. Those students who do not receive Code Purple announcements were also able to look on and the WSU Facebook page and see the warning placed on the homepages telling students that classes had been canceled until 4:30.

Hopefully, those students who were frustrated with Code Purple today can also appreciate the damage and injuries that could have happened and were avoided. Code Purple and the people running it aren’t 100 percent perfect and can’t predict the weather, but they are doing their best to keep students safe and sound.

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