Cougar Alert Emergency Notification System

The College of Charleston operates an emergency notification system that can reach students, faculty, staff and others within minutes of a campus crisis. This system is called Cougar Alert.

Cougar Alerts are used to communicate emergencies taking place on campus, with direct call to actions, such as evacuations, building closures and/or class cancellations. Alerts are also employed for emergencies or major events taking place in the greater Charleston community that might impact our campus community.

What you need to do to receive emergency notifications:

  • CofC students, faculty, and staff are automatically enrolled to receive alerts.
  • Add (843) 805-5507 to your Contacts/Address book on your mobile phone and label it Cougar Alert
  • Update mobile phone and email address in MyPortal

Parents, families, visitors, and others can receive Cougar Alerts  

  • Non-CofC members can subscribe to receive Cougar Alerts by texting the word cougaralert to 333111. You will automatically receive Cougar Alerts via text message. To also receive the alerts by email, reply to the confirmation text with your email address.

There are three types of notifications sent to the campus community:

Cougar Alert is the College’s primary emergency notification system. The Cougar Alert satisfies the requirement of an immediate notification system as required by the Clery Act. This is not a Timely Warning, as also required by the Clery Act. The Cougar Alert will be limited for use in only emergency situations in which there is an immediate need to alter the normal behavior or movement on/around campus.   

There will be just three types of Emergency/Cougar Alerts:  

  • Campus-wide Shelter in Place  

Cougar Alert – There is an emergency situation on campus; everyone is directed to shelter in place immediately. Stay in a secure location until further directed by College or law enforcement officials. Please monitor communications for further instruction.

  • Specific Location, Immediate Evacuation  

Cougar Alert – There is an emergency situation on campus. Anyone in [location to be identified by Public Safety] should evacuate the building/area immediately. Everyone else is directed to shelter in place. Please monitor communications for further instruction

  • Cancellation/Suspension of Campus Operations 

The College is suspending operations/cancelling all classes and activities due to severe weather or other types of events (e.g., hurricanes or other types of emergencies that may impact campus operations). 


As required by the Clery Act, Timely Warnings are required if a Clery crime has occurred within the College’s Clery Geography and poses a serious and/or continuing threat to campus. Certain crimes that occur on school grounds, within school-owned or controlled buildings, and on public property adjacent to school grounds qualify for reporting under the Clery Act.

Timely Warnings should be issued as soon as pertinent information is known. At a minimum, the Timely Warning will include the following information:  

  • Date and time of the incident  
  • Location of the incident  
  • Nature of the crime.  

NOTE: Cougar Alerts and Timely Warnings will be managed/issued through the College’s Cougar Alert Emergency Notification System. The means of message transmission available include phone, text, email, smart phone applications, network computers, digital displays and a text opt-in option for non-College members. 


The Campus Advisory is not designed to result in the immediate change of behavior but will help campus members stay safe in a broader sense. This advisory is not issued in compliance with the Clery Act. Campus Advisories will be issued by Public Safety to students and employees through the College’s email system.  

Examples of Campus Advisories include case updates on ongoing public health matters (e.g., mumps, COVID-19), facilities-related issues affecting large numbers of people (e.g., parking garage problems), isolated gas leaks and fire alarms and other incidents that do not rise to the level of a Cougar Alert. This advisory may also be used for incidents occurring off campus. Examples of off-campus incidents that may warrant an advisory include flooding, major structure fires, major gas leaks, hostage situations, shootings, widespread street closures and other largescale events that may impact access to or departure from campus. 


Technical help 

For technical support on receiving Cougar Alerts and other types of notifications please contact the IT Service Desk at 843.953.3375 or