Oulu UAS should critically examine its crisis communication and its communication methods during a crisis.
On Friday, March 23 after midday, there was a police operation going on at the Teuvo Pakkala campus. There was a suspicion that there might be a person with a gun in the area.
During this situation, emergency information to the students and staff at the campus was inadequate. There was an emergency announcement given via PA system, but that announcement was not heard throughout the campus for unknown reasons. The emergency announcement should also be in English as well since there are quite a lot of international degree and exchange students at the Teuvo Pakkala campus. An emergency notice was published at staff intranet Heimo and student intranet Oiva at 12.33 o’clock.
– Students and staff might not even use intranet daily. An emergency should also be informed with text messages: for example, cancellation of the classes are often informed via text messages. This way the information about emergency could go straight away to everyone at Oamk, Anttijussi Ripaoja, the chair of the board of OSAKO, says.
Students and staff at the Teuvo Pakkala campus were unaware about the progress of the situation because Oulu UAS began to inform just before two in the afternoon. At this point, the situation has been going on for over an hour. When Oulu UAS kept its mouth shut, there were Kaleva, Yle Oulu, yellow press and police reporting about the situation minute to minute.
– Rumors about the situation began to spread immediately, for there was not any official information from Oulu UAS. People at the Teuvo Pakkala campus were afraid because Oulu UAS did not have explicit communication right from the beginning of the situation, the vice-chair of the board of OSAKO Emma Salminen says.
Oulu UAS should have a clear crisis communication plan, which must be brought into use in situations like this, OSAKO recommends. All the information has to be both in Finnish and in English in an emergency, for there are many international students at Oulu UAS. There should also be one certain person, who would be responsible for the communication in an emergency, as well as answering the questions from the press. This way the information and communications could be coherent at the future situations.
– We really do hope that Oulu UAS takes this feedback seriously and improves their crisis communications for the future. Luckily, nothing serious happened, Ripaoja says.
Anttijussi Ripaoja, the chairperson of the board (email@example.com)
Emma Salminen, vice-chair of the board (firstname.lastname@example.org)