CU will review communication with students during 'active harmer'

9NEWS @ 4. 10/6/2016

BOULDER - One day after police shoot and kill a man wielding a sword-like knife on the University of Colorado campus, some students are wondering what happened with communications that led to confusion and more evacuations.

"The text messages were a little confusing," Emily Bernhardt, CU senior, said. "If you were like to check emails and texts at the same time, they were a little conflicting."

Freshman Jake Letzring says he was not sure what the university wanted students to do.

"I got the email saying, OK, it was all clear and another email saying wait it might not be clear and, then another email saying it was all clear," Letzring said.

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Nick Kruth says the inconsistent information led people to create and spread rumors around campus.

"You just start developing all these like self-made theories," Kruth said. "You don't really know what's true, what to believe."

That type of confusion led to the evacuation of the University Memorial Center. Reports surfaced from the student hub that there was another "active harmer". Hundreds of students quickly evacuated the area leaving their belongings behind.

"All the rumors lead you to believe things that could not even be close to true," Kruth said.

Ryan Huff is the chief spokesperson for the University of Colorado Boulder. Huff says the university and police put out the most accurate information at the time.

"We would much rather have police go into a building with guns drawn and find no threat than to wait around while violence is ensuing inside," Huff said.

He says the university will perform an After Action Review on response and communication.

"What was effective, what could we do better for next time and I'm sure lessons learned," Huff said. "You know there's no such thing as a perfect incident. You will always learn lessons from both a tactical standpoint and communications standpoint."

Huff says confusion and rumors in fluid situations are common. Letzring says that made things worse.

"Just the rumors about the system getting hacked, I guess were a little bit concerning." Letzring said.

The rumors became so prevalent that Huff says CU felt compelled to post an alert that the alerts were not hacked.

"There are a lot of rumors out there and so we want to very quickly provide the truth," Huff said.

He is thankful for one thing. Regardless of the confusion, the alerts did keep people safe.

"What we are thankful for is that aside from the suspect involved, there were no injuries or deaths here on campus," Huff said.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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