Starting Aug. 1, Lafayette’s Leopard Alerts, a proven messaging system used to share important safety information, will require users to make sure their cellphone numbers are up to date on Banner. 

Users receive Leopard Alerts via email, text, and, for faculty and staff, on their assigned computers. While subscribers can opt out of receiving Leopard Alerts messages via text messages, it’s strongly recommended that users still add a cellphone into Banner regardless of the options chosen to stay informed and help ensure their safety and the safety of others on campus in the event of an emergency. 

John O’Keefe, vice president and chief information officer, sat down recently to discuss the value of Leopard Alerts and the importance of using the system to its fullest advantage.

Why are staff and faculty being encouraged to supply their cellphone numbers in addition to their email addresses?

While we do have all Lafayette email addresses enrolled in the Leopard Alerts system, it is good to have multiple channels of communication in the event of a fast-moving emergency situation. So every layer, from college-issued computers to desk phones to email and text, helps ensure everyone has the information they need to stay safe.

What are the benefits of Leopard Alerts?

Leopard Alerts is the primary means to let members of our community know vital information in the event of an emergency. Getting that information quickly and reliably can save lives and make a difference in the outcome of any critical situation.

On average, how many Leopard Alerts messages are issued annually?

It really depends on the year, but generally speaking no more than a dozen or so, mostly related to power outages and weather events.

How long has Lafayette had its Leopard Alerts system? 

Leopard Alerts has been around since the early 2010s, and has been a critical component to our emergency response strategy over the years.

What types of events activate the system?

I’ve seen anything from tornado warnings to a bear spotted on campus. Of course, power outages have come up quite a bit over the years as well. On a very rare occasion, we have used the system to alert the community to active police activity near campus.

Are text messages the fastest way to receive Leopard Alerts?

Text messages are by far the fastest way to get alerts. While we do have other means to reach members of the community, none are faster than a text alert.

Will cellphone numbers entered into Banner be kept confidential?

Yes. Cellphone numbers recorded in Banner are only accessible to individuals or systems that require the information in order for official College business. They will not be shared with anyone outside the College.

What if I don’t have a cellphone?

For members of the Lafayette community, college-issued email addresses are automatically enrolled in the system. If you do not have a Lafayette email address nor a cellphone, you can enroll your personal email address.