Late Sunday morning, Butler University experienced a lockdown due to the presence of armed robbers on campus.
The barrage of updates via text message, phone call and email alerted students of the suspects’ movements from the Atherton Mall toward the camel.
Yes, the camel. The alert clearly meant the canal, but one typo turned a very serious situation into a joke.
The whole situation highlights two major issues: how easily Butler students will trivialize a serious situation, and the importance of double checking spelling.
Shortly after noon, a Twitter account was created called The Butler Camel, tweeting as an imaginary camel on campus.
Within an hour of the account’s creation it had over 400 followers.
And as of late Monday evening, it had 1,023 followers.
I admittedly took part in mocking the absurd situation, tweeting about the “Butler camel” and posting memes about the camel on Facebook.
However, both the Butler camel Twitter account and I addressed this was still a serious situation and that people needed to stay indoors.
“(The camel joke) was a negative effect,” junior Brook Becker said. “It really took away from the seriousness of the situation. The typo also really created some confusion.”
The alert read “The Butler University Police Department is investigating an armed robbery. The suspect was last seen running towrad the camel. Please avoid the area. Please seek shelter inside of a facility.”
It is understandable that these alerts are sent out in a hurry, but two very noticeable mistakes in one alert is an issue.
Butler administrators need to make certain that information being sent to students is 100 percent accurate in situations as serious as Sunday’s.
The administration cannot afford confused or misinformed students if dangerous people are roaming around campus.
However, it is also students’ responsibility to realize the gravity of a situation.
While the lockdown was in effect, I saw students heading to Atherton Union, presumably to get lunch.
It is possible that these students did not know about the situation, but with the saturation of alerts from the university, that seems unlikely.
Situations like Sunday’s lockdown should be taken with the utmost seriousness by students.
When students don’t treat such situations seriously, they take their safety into their own hands.
Students should not need to be reminded about incidents like the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre or the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting to take situations like this seriously.
While the joke of the Butler camel is highly entertaining, I hope that Butler students and the administration take this situation and learn from it.
Students should take security alerts seriously, and the university needs to make sure its message is always clear.