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MoBull Plus to be tested

USF will conduct a campus-wide test of its emergency text-messaging system today at noon.

Administrators have pushed hard for students and staff to sign up for the service since last year’s killings at Virginia Tech, but a large chunk of the USF community has yet to join.

Though users can filter out the alerts of deals from local merchants, updates to Blackboard and notices of local events, some have shied away from joining over worries that their cell phones will be bombarded with text messages, said USF spokesman Ken Gullette.

Among the 37,000 students and thousands of faculty and staff members allowed to sign up, only around 10,000 have registered, Gullette said.

“We’d like to see everyone sign up for the system,” Gullette said. “At this point we just aren’t satisfied.”

Since administrators added the emergency alert feature to MoBull in the wake of Virginia Tech, they have held off sending emergency alerts about campus robberies and the man found asleep in a car containing firearms and ammunition in the University Police parking lot.

In each case, they instead e-mailed students through the University server.

Their reluctance has prompted second-guessing from some media outlets, most recently when warnings from University Police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office of a serial rapist were not passed along through MoBull.

“We’ve decided that the only two situations when MoBull will be used are in an immediate life-threatening emergency or when the entire campus is closed because of a hurricane or some other event,” Gullette said. “We want people to know that when they get a message, they need to pay attention and likely should take action.”

The test will include a short test message and requires no action.

Anyone who has difficulty receiving the message can visit the TEST SUPPORT section of www.mobull.usf.edu.