By Rachel Taylor, Editor-in-Chief
According to the Advocate, the Rockville campus student newspaper: “At 1:03pm today, students and faculty received a MC Alert stating, ‘Armed person at [insert name] Campus. Go to nearest room and lock door NOW! If off campus, STAY AWAY. Follow instructions from authorities.’ Seven minutes later, would they send out another MC Alert saying that the message sent was an error, that there was no threat.”
Marcus Rosano, the Communications/PR Director for Montgomery College said the false alert was a “human error” and “sent by mistake.” Rosano was not directly responsible for the alert, but as the communications director, he quickly became aware of the mistake.
“We really apologize for any alarm that it caused,” he said. Safety is a priority at Montgomery College, and Rosano said that they will learn from the mistake to make sure it does not happen again.
He said that more training will occur in response to the false alert. According to Rosano, only a “small number” of people have access to the MC Alert system. He said they are aware of exactly what happened so they will be able to avoid it in the future.
However, it is still unclear to the general college community who specifically was responsible for sending the alert.
At 3:19 pm, a message from MC Communications was sent out apologizing for the error. According to this email, the “origin of the mistake was discovered immediately” and the college is “currently reviewing our protocols for authorizing messages and their content, and the Office of Public Safety will make any necessary changes to processes.” It ended with the following: “Safety is our first priority at Montgomery College, and we are working to ensure that this does not happen again.”
The false alert may have been related to an attempt to update the MC Alert system, according to Dana Baker, a professor in Rockville, speaking after the event to an Advocate reporter. Instead of the system updating, the alert was sent out mistakenly.
The Globe hopes to obtain more information about this error over the coming days.