Universities use app to shed spotlight on valuable campus resources, student safety
The University of Mississippi and Emory University's Atlanta and Oxford campuses have all partnered with mobile safety app platform LiveSafe to deliver real-time security communication.
The app, available for free download for iOS and Android devices, enables campus communities to report non-emergency tips including threats, disturbances, assaults, theft, stalking, suspicious activity, drug and alcohol abuse and traffic or parking issues, among others.
As reported by the Oxford Eagle, Ole Miss students recently trialed the app and the university will now use LiveSafe to send RebAlerts and safety information to its campus community. Students can use the app to send a picture, video or audio clip when submitting their safety tip, all of which can be anonymous. Once a tip is reported through the app, the appropriate department will respond based on the type of alert.
A chat option is also available through the app to allow direct and immediate communication with on-campus resource officers. Another feature of the app, called SafeWalk, allows users to virtually monitor a friend's walk home using, GPS location technology, to ensure safe arrival.
Ole Miss has also launched an accompanying website called UMatter, which serves as a support site for students, faculty and staff to provide assistance to peers and colleagues who may be in distress. The website enables individuals to report concerns or find support resources for problems ranging from physical and mental health issues, to financial hardships, to behavioral issues including drug and alcohol abuse.
Emory's Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) officially launched the app November 17, with the hope that it will increase emergency and general safety for the campus community.
All of the safety app’s features will be on offer at Emory, enabling users to alert the Emory Police Department (EPD) and other safety agencies about safety concerns on campus, call or text EPD and '911,' request a SafeRide shuttle or SafeWalk, and look up safety resources both at Emory and in the greater Atlanta area.
As with Ole Miss, Emory's deployment of the app can be used to track a user’s location, though some settings such as tip reporting will allow anonymity, only sending certain information -- such as the location of an incident, but not a user’s contact information -- to authorities.
Separate from the university's main campus in Atlanta, Emory's Oxford campus will have its own specific tab within the app that will feature campus-specific resources.
According to an Emory Wheel report, the university signed a three-year contract with LiveSafe and is paying for its services with funds from the university's Student Activity Fee and Employee Benefit Fees.
Emory's CEPAR worked with several campus agencies over the past year to develop the app, including the Emory Safety Alliance, which pools members from other campus stakeholders including Student Government Association, the Environmental Health and Safety Office and Student Health Services.
Emory officials also hope to connect with other LiveSafe app communities, such as Georgia Tech, to better protect those who may be traveling between campuses.