Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is UT ALERT?
UT ALERT is a method of notifying the campus community in a timely manner about serious emergencies, ongoing situations, or disruptions to normal operations on campus. Once students, faculty, or staff sign up for UT ALERT, they will begin receiving text messages through a designated mobile device. Subscribers can also sign up to receive the same UT ALERT message through their UT e-mail account.

How do I sign up for UT ALERT?
It's easy! Just log in using your NetID and password and follow the instructions.

Is there a cost?
No. The only charges you might incur are the normal fees charged by your wireless provider for receiving text messages.

Is UT ALERT just for cell or mobile phones?
The UT ALERT service sends messages to any mobile device that can receive text messages, such as cell/mobile phones, smartphones, text pagers, and tablets. UT ALERT messages may also be sent to your e-mail. We recommend that you choose both options when you sign up or update your account to receive messages both ways.

When will I get a UT ALERT message?
A UT ALERT message will be sent when there is a situation on or near our campus that could impact the safety of our campus community or its normal operations (e.g. a large-scale gas leak, fire, or hazardous material spill).


Will I get advertising messages from UT ALERT?
No. UT ALERT will not be used to deliver any kind of advertising content, and mobile numbers will never be given to any third party.

Can my parents or guardian subscribe to UT ALERT?
The service is designed to notify only members of our campus community. Emergency messages are reposted to UT's Twitter account, which parents can sign up to follow. The best source of information for your parents or other concerned people is utk.edu.

What if I don't have a mobile device or my device doesn't support text messaging?
UT ALERT is just one of the communication channels used in the event of an emergency. It does not replace any other means of communication. In significant emergencies, the university utilizes multiple means to communicate to the campus community. You can also monitor utk.edu, your UT e-mail account, UT's Twitter account, and local media during a prolonged emergency or safety threat.

Making Account Updates and Unsubscribing

How do I change my mobile device number or update my contact information?
Log in and update any of your information, including your primary mobile device number. You will need your NetID and password to log in. After you make the changes, the service will display a completion notice.

How do I stop receiving UT ALERT messages?
You can opt out of receiving UT ALERT text messages at any time by texting STOP to 44515.

Once you send the STOP message, you should receive a text message on your device to confirm that you've been removed from the text message list.

You must log in to your account, however, to be completely removed from the UT ALERT service and stop receiving the e-mail messages.

Additional Details about Communicating During Emergencies

How long does it take to receive a UT ALERT message?
It may take several minutes for text messages to reach the more than 25,000 students, faculty and staff who have subscribed. UT ALERT messages are sent simultaneously through e-mail and text message channels. There are several factors that affect how quickly you will receive a message. The UT ALERT text messaging service can distribute text messages to all its subscribers in approximately five minutes. However, wireless providers may not be able to deliver messages to individual devices at the same pace.

Because UT ALERT e-mail messages are more likely to be delivered first, we recommend that you to register for both methods of communication.

What do I do when I receive an alert?
Use the brief information in the message to make immediate decisions about your safety. Then seek additional information and direction by visiting utk.edu. You should also monitor your e-mail for information the university sends to all faculty, staff, and students through the broadcast e-mail system. You can also follow the university's Twitter account and local media.

How do I know an emergency is over?
The university will use several communication methods to let people know that the immediate threat has passed and/or that campus operations have returned to normal.

Why do I sometimes get two messages about an incident and then other times I get only e-mail notification, but no text message?
The university will sometimes send the same information contained in a UT ALERT text message in an e-mail to all students, faculty and staff. In these cases, UT ALERT subscribers get two similar messages.

These university broadcast e-mail messages are sent separately from the UT ALERT notification service. There will also be times when there is a need to notify the campus community about a crime that has occurred and the circumstances do not require an immediate action (e.g. stay away from a specific area, shelter in place). In that case, subscribers would not get a UT ALERT text message.

In the event of an emergency, how else will UT notify the campus?
In addition to text messages, e-mail and the website, the university may utilize campus blue light phones which turn into public address loudspeakers when needed. Brief updates will also be made to UT's Twitter account.

Who sends the notification? What's displayed in the sender line?
UT ALERT text messages will always come from 44515 and reference UT ALERT. The subject line will say "UT ALERT" and the e-mail will come from UTAlert@utk.edu.

E-mail messages sent by the university to all students, faculty, and staff will come from UT Police.

Have additional questions or problems?
Contact utalert-help@utk.edu for assistance or call 865-974-3061.

I am signed up but not receiving the messages. What should I do?

If your wireless provider has blocked the message:
One of the most common problems is that some wireless providers may incorrectly treat the UT ALERT message as a "premium message." There are provider account settings that can be adjusted to correct this problem. Contact your provider directly and let them know you are trying to receive the university's emergency text alert messages and that you have confirmed that you are signed up correctly.

If your e-mail account reads the UT ALERT e-mail as junk mail
If you are signed up to get the UT ALERT e-mail message, make sure your account recognizes it as legitimate e-mail.  If UT ALERT is in your junk e-mail, right click on "junk" in the menu and then select "not junk." Make sure the box is clicked that says "Always trust e-mail from UTAlert@utk.edu" and click "OK."

Return to UT ALERT signup page

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