UH email at­tracts at­ten­tion with its ‘nu­clear’ sub­ject line

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By KIRSTEN JOHN­SON

A Univer­sity of Hawaii spokesman is apol­o­giz­ing for “need­less at­ten­tion” from an email sent to fac­ulty, staff and stu­dents sys­temwide Monday with the sub­ject line, “In the event of a nu­clear at­tack.”

The email was meant to in­form the 10 UH cam­puses, in­clud­ing UH-Hilo, that in the un­likely event of a North Korea mis­sile at­tack, the univer­sity will “de­fer to state and fed­eral agen­cies,” UH spokesman Dan Meisen­zahl told the Tri­buneHer­ald on Tues­day.

The email’s sub­ject line quickly gar­nered the at­ten­tion of na­tional me­dia and gen­er­ated more than 60 on­line ar­ti­cles with sen­tences

such as “trou­ble in par­adise?” and “Now on of­fer at Univer­sity of Hawaii, Nu­clear War 101: How to Start Wor­ry­ing and Fear the Bomb.”

Meisen­zahl said the mes­sage was sent as a stan­dard in­ter­nal email and was not meant to at­tract na­tional me­dia cov­er­age or cause fear. It was sent to more than 60,000 peo­ple sys­temwide.

Meisen­zahl said he takes “full re­spon­si­bil­ity” for the sub­ject line, which he called “ab­so­lutely re­gret­table and a mis­take.”

“My job is to pre­vent neg­a­tive, em­bar­rass­ing head­lines,” Meisen­zahl said. “And to­day I did the com­plete op­po­site … the sub­ject line was a mis­take and my mis­take alone. I apol­o­gize for caus­ing any undo or un­nec­es­sary con­cern.”

Meisen­zahl later sent a fol­low-up email to some UH lead­er­ship in which he apol­o­gized for the “need­less at­ten­tion I brought the univer­sity as a re­sult of the sys­temwide email.”

He said he stands by the body of the email, how­ever, which states that in the event of an at­tack, the 10 UH cam­puses will “rely on the Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency siren sys­tem and fol­low agency in­struc­tions on ‘shel­ter­ing-in-place.’”

De­spite the na­tional at­ten­tion, the email didn’t gen­er­ate a large num­ber of com­plaints from stu­dents or fac­ulty, Meisen­zahl said.

UH-Hilo spokesman Jerry Chang said Tues­day his of­fice had not re­ceived any calls or emails about the mes­sage.


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