On Feb. 20, a fire erupted on the fourth floor of the parking deck, damaging two vehicles.
Students who witnessed the smoke and flames billowing out of the structure were quick to spread the news on social media. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook were where many students discovered that there was a fire on campus.
Some were alarmed after seeing photographs of the incident, worrying if their cars were affected by the fire.
It would have been nice, though, if Seton Hall had notified its students of the event more efficiently – or at all.
Every Seton Hall student and faculty member receives PirateAlerts by text message, a telephone call or an email.
According to the University’s website, “PirateAlert is used to alert the Seton Hall University community of a public safety emergency that could impact the campus (such as an active shooter/hostile intruder, severe weather conditions, hazardous material release, etc.) and to provide protective action instructions.”
Tests for PirateAlerts are conducted pretty frequently, so we know that the system works. So, really, there’s no excuse for the fact that students weren’t warned about a fire on campus.
Laurie Pine, the director of Media Relations for SHU, said that Public Safety said that a PirateAlert was not sent because it was not an imminent danger to students.
The fire wasn’t deadly and caused no injuries, but the lack of a warning from SHU is irresponsible, regardless.
Passing students could have easily been hurt if the fire escalated and even though it didn’t escalate, students still deserved to know. The fire originated from one car, but spread to a second.
The South Orange Fire Department was able to contain the fire, and other than for the two owners of the damaged cars, crisis was averted.
But if it weren’t for social media and word of mouth, students would have had no way of knowing that.
For a school that has experienced true tragedy involving fire, you’d think Seton Hall would have been more proactive in warning students of a danger on campus.
It’s on Seton Hall to warn students of campus hazards and there is a specific system in place for the University to do so.
So, maybe, in the future, SHU will actually use it.
The Voice is intended to best represent the collective opinion of The Editorial Board. It is written by The Setonian’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor.