Notice: Follow-up To Erroneous "Shots Fired" Message

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

At 9:35 a.m. today, a text message was issued to those who subscribe to UNCWAlert, a UNCW emergency messaging tool, to indicate shots had been fired on our main campus, and directing recipients to take shelter. At 9:41 a.m., the university issued a retraction via UNCWAlert indicating there was no emergency, and at 9:43 a.m. that retraction was reiterated via the university's social media channels. An email was sent to all faculty, staff and students at 9:51 a.m. to reiterate the retraction.

The university deeply regrets this false alarm, which was caused by user error during a routine campus training session. Campus officials immediately began to investigate how this error occurred in an effort to prevent it from reoccurring. We can confirm that there was no external interference (i.e., "hacking") involved in this error.

Our primary goal at this point is to ensure that this error and the subsequent alarm it caused do not undermine our community's confidence in the substantial safety measures in place on our campus. We also recognize and regret the potential psychological impact of this morning's error. Students who are experiencing any distress (related or unrelated to this alarm) should contact the Counseling Center at 910.962.3746; employees should call 877.274.7342 or visit (university web ID: UNCW). Training exercises pertaining to what to do in an active shooter situation are regularly offered by UNCW Police. Information is available via

Again, we want to offer our sincerest apologies for this morning's chain of events, and to reaffirm our commitment to the highest standards of public safety.