Frequently Asked Questions
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. All students, faculty, and staff are registered to receive UT Alert e-mail and can add their mobile telephone number to their registration to receive text messages.
How do I sign up for UT Alert Text Messages?
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 mobile phones?
The UT Alert service sends messages to any mobile device that can receive text messages, such as mobile phones, smartphones, text pagers, and tablets. UT Alert messages are automatically sent to faculty, staff, and student e-mail accounts regardless of whether they are subscribed to receive text messages.
When will I get a UT Alert message?
A UT Alert message will be sent when there is a situation on campus that can impact safety and disrupt regular campus operations.
- An armed person has been reported on campus and is still at large.
- Severe weather, such as a tornado warning, or the university closing due to severe winter weather.
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. In a major emergency, information will be posted to the front page of utk.edu.
What if I don’t have a mobile device or my device doesn't support text messaging?
UT Alert e-mail and text messages are among the communication channels used in the event of an emergency. In significant emergencies, the university utilizes multiple means to communicate. 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.
Updating Your Account and Unsubscribing
How do I change my mobile device number or update my contact information?
Users can update their account information by clicking on the UT Alert link on the myUTK homepage or log in to their account from this page.
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 226787 or 67283 or 78015 or 81437.
Once you send the STOP message, you will receive a text message to confirm your removal. You can also opt out by deleting the number from the mobile phone section of the My Account tab.
Opting out will not remove you from the e-mail delivery of UT Alert, which is mandatory for all faculty, students, and staff.
A recent upgrade to the UT Alert system allows us to send emergency notification messages to computer desktops through the Alertus client software. All computers on Active Directory should already have the Alertus software installed.
If it has been properly installed, the Alertus icon should appear on your toolbar:
How Does It Work?
The Alertus software enables the display of UT Alert messages on all computers registered through Active Directory.
The alert can be eliminated by clicking the “acknowledge” button on the bottom of the screen. It will also go away automatically after 10 minutes. The display will not appear on computers that are turned off or in sleep mode.
How do I get it?
If it has not been automatically installed, all faculty, staff and students can download the Alertus client software from the OIT download page.
If you have problems downloading the software, please call the OIT Helpdesk at 865-974-9900.
Guardian Safety Application Now Available through the UT App
What is Guardian?
Guardian is mobile application that helps enhance safety and improve two-way communication with the UT Police Department. Users can create a virtual safety network of friends and family to utilize a safety timer so that community members can look out for one another. Users can share location information and anonymous tips with UTPD. Users are encouraged to add information about special needs and medical conditions that would be helpful to responders in a serious emergency.
How do I get Guardian?
All faculty, staff, and students with a smartphone or tablet should download the UT app to receive the Guardian app, which will appear on the main screen of the UT app. Those who have already downloaded the UT app and are current on updates should see the Guardian app on the first screen.
How do I use Guardian?
Once you have downloaded Guardian, you will be prompted to enter your information to create a profile. You must use your UT e-mail address to enable the custom interactive features. Please enter information about any medical conditions or physical limitations that would be helpful to UTPD in the event you are involved in a serious emergency on campus.
After completing the profile, you can explore the Guardian, safety timer, emergency call, and UTPD tip features. Allow the app to use location information to enhance the emergency call features.
Create a network of “guardians”—close friends or nearby family—with whom you can communicate rapidly and proactively in the event of an emergency.
You can also set a safety timer to create a connection when traveling between destinations or to unfamiliar settings and select one person from your guardian network to be notified if you do not check in within a set amount of time.
More about Communicating During Emergencies
How long does it take to receive a UT Alert message?
The UT Alert text messaging service can distribute text messages to its more than 42,000 subscribers in less than five minutes. However, wireless providers may not be able to deliver messages to individual devices at the same pace.
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 checking the UT alert e-mail, which may have more information. You should also monitor your e-mail for additional messages from the university. You can also follow the university on Twitter and check for status updates on utk.edu and through local media reports.
How do I know when an emergency is over?
The university will use several communication methods to let people know that the immediate threat has passed or that campus operations have returned to normal.
Why do I sometimes get both a text message and an e-mail notification, and at other times only one or the other?
The university will sometimes send a follow-up safety notice to all students, faculty, and staff. While they are often similar to UT Alert messages, these university broadcast e-mail messages are sent separately from UT Alerts and are sent only through e-mail.
On the other hand, there is sometimes a need to notify the campus community about a crime that has occurred when the circumstances do not require an immediate action—that is, there is no need to warn people to stay away from a specific area or to shelter in place. In that case, UT Alert will not be activated and the notification will be sent only by e-mail.
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 make use of campus blue light phones, which turn into public address loudspeakers in a serious emergency.
Who sends the notifications? What’s displayed in the sender line?
UT Alert text messages will always come from 226787, 67283, 78015, or 81437 and reference UT Alert. For e-mail messages, the subject line will say UT Alert and the sender will be UTAlert@utk.edu.
Additional questions or problems?
If you have additional questions or problems, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-974-3061 for assistance.
I am signed up but not receiving the messages. What should I do?
If your wireless provider blocks messages:
This most commonly occurs when a wireless provider incorrectly treats a UT Alert message as a premium message. There are provider account settings that can be adjusted to correct this problem. Contact your provider and let them know you are unable 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:
Make sure your account recognizes UT alerts as legitimate e-mail. If an alert goes to 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.