Emergency contact info needed

Nearly one-fourth of the Rice community could not receive last week’s emergency test message via text or voice mail because they have not provided their personal cellphone number for the Emergency Notification System via their Esther account.

The Crisis Management Team and Rice University Police Department conducted a test of the Emergency Notification System during the noon hour on Aug. 23. About 8,800 of the 11,500 active employees and students have provided their personal cellphone number in their Esther account for use in case of an emergency. Faculty and staff members account for the majority of people who have not listed a cellphone number for the Emergency Notification System.

“We were able to email everyone at their Rice.edu address, but the text and voice messages could be delivered only to the students, faculty and staff who have posted a cellphone number in Esther,” said Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby, who chairs Rice’s Crisis Management Team. “Because the Esther accounts are private, only students, faculty and staff can add their cellphone number to their accounts. We encourage everyone to make sure that their most current emergency contact information is posted so they can receive timely messages if a dangerous situation on campus warrants urgent communication for their safety and well-being.”

Employees and students can update their emergency contact info at esther.rice.edu. If they don’t know the PIN for their account, they can click on the “Forgot PIN” feature; employees can also send an email to people@rice.edu for help with their PIN; students can request help with their PIN at registrar@rice.edu.

All personal contact information is kept confidential. Faculty and staff with questions about how to fill out the form can contact Human Resources at 713-348-2514. Students can contact the Office of the Registrar at 713-348-4999.

Anyone who does not want Rice to contact them during an emergency can check the “opt out” box at the bottom of the Emergency Notification System form, but this could prevent them from getting critical notices, including campus closings. State law requires that students and employees renew this option at the start of every academic year if they want to continue to not participate in the emergency alert system.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.