University community members criticize PointALERT issues, issues due to “malfunction”

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

Members of the university community are questioning the effectiveness of the university police’s PointALERT system following an uptick in crime in the Downtown area. 


According to Kendra Summers, president of the Student Government Association, recent issues with the PointALERT system were a “malfunction.”


“We were told that there was a malfunction with the system,” Summers wrote to The Globe.


According to Summers, the malfunction was due to the company that runs the PointALERT system, not the university.


“There was a malfunction on the system’s end, it is an outside company, and not everyone received their alerts at the same time,” Summers wrote. “Apparently the glitch has been fixed, but they won’t know for sure until they send out an alert.”


The university is currently in contact with the company to attempt to address future issues as they occur.


“They’re still in touch with the company to see if anything happens the next time they use the system,” Summers wrote.


Some members of the university community have expressed concern that the university police are not notifying students of potential dangers on campus and beyond.


April Friges, a photography professor, said that she was recently physically attacked on campus and that the university police did not issue an alert, despite her request that they send one.


On Black Friday, Friges was attacked by a woman on the corner of Wood Street and Third Avenue.


“As I was going right on Wood Street, a woman started punching me,” Friges said. “She took me by complete surprise, and I have a fist in my face, ready to punch me.”


Friges did not require medical attention but emphasized that the attack was physically violent and that her arms were sore following the incident.


“I called the Point Park Police, and now I’m starting to wonder if I should have called the main police,” Friges said. “I said, I think a statement needs to be made. That’s what I said and I made it very clear… because I don’t feel safe at work anymore.”


Friges expressed frustration with a lack of communication between the university police and non-police security on campus.


“The man who sits in Academic Hall when we tap our badges in the morning, first thing Monday morning I told him about it and he had no idea,” Friges said. “This is a security guard who is literally in eyeshot of that corner, and he has no information about this woman that could physically attack students and physically attacked a faculty member unprovoked. So there’s no communication about this at all about this.”


Friges said that she began discussing the incident with her students, some of whom shared similar stories with her.


One of her students, Madison Gasper, said that she has “definitely” noticed issues with the PointALERT system. She pointed to a shooting Downtown, which occurred on November 15.


“There was the big one with the shooting that was like… literally a couple of streets down,” Gasper, a sophomore graphic design major said, “We found out from my professors and literally just word of mouth, and then we did not get a notification until like, basically half an hour.”


When initial news coverage of the shooting broke from other organizations, reports indicated that the university police had utilized the PointALERT system to notify students of the shooting. According to Gasper, her class was frustrated by this reporting.


“We were sitting in class, and the news article said that the Point Park Police did alert their students, but they didn’t,” Gasper said. “It really made us mad because it was just like straight-up lying in the article.”


Gasper spoke about other incidents that happened to her Downtown and made her feel unsafe. She says that she was sexually harassed on the street last month at night by a man staying at the Residences at Wood Street.


“He kept trying to touch me, and I was like ‘don’t touch me,’” Gasper said. “To get away I literally just hopped on a random bus, and I made it home.”


She says that the man harassed her again, this time during the day.


“One day he started talking to me again, and he didn’t recognize me because he was so drunk the one night,” Gasper said. “But then he just started trying the same stuff, even though he was sober this time, and it was in broad daylight. Then he just casually mentioned how he would see me walking in the mornings, and that just really unnerved me.”


Gasper did not file a report with the police following either incident.

“I felt like I really didn’t have anything to build off of,” Gasper said. “I mean, the first night I probably did, but I really just wanted to get home afterward. The second time nothing overly significant happened, and I had no viable proof.”


Gasper has submitted reports to the university police before, one of which was for another incident involving the Residences at Wood Street. She says that a resident threw canned food out of a window at her and her friend, and one almost hit her in the head. 


“We reported that, and I did not really get any information back,” Gasper said. “I do not know what was done about that… but yeah that was just one incident.”


The university was reached for comment but did not do so in time for publication. If the university responds, this story will be updated online at