Frequently Asked Questions

What is CUNY Alert?

Since January of 2008, our emergency notification system, CUNY Alert, has been used to notify the University Community of emergencies via text, email, and/or phone messages. Through an arrangement between CUNY and the New York State Emergency Management Office, CUNY Alert uses the state's all-hazards alert and notification system, NY-Alert. The alerts may be campus specific or University-wide.

Are all CUNY campuses participating in CUNY Alert?

Yes, CUNY Alert is a University-wide system, available to the CUNY Community, which includes students, faculty, and staff.


CUNY Alert provides the CUNY Community with a secure system for disseminating emergency information. By keeping you informed and aware, the Alert System can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations. Timely alerts can also save you from inconvenience, for example: you trudge through a snowstorm to get to class, only to find that your school has been closed for the day. With CUNY Alert, you have the information you need before you get out the door.

Since CUNY Alert preferences are managed by each user, you select where and how you want to be notified. You may choose as many CUNY locations as you like, up to five e-mail addresses, and up to ten phone numbers (five text and five voice). The result is that you can receive alerts virtually anywhere, whether you are at school, work, home, or on the go.

What types of "Emergency Messages" may I receive?

You will receive messages for emergency events that are disruptive or have the potential to be disruptive, such as extreme weather conditions. One recent example was Hurricane Sandy, when alerts were sent to the University Community regarding flooding conditions, power failure, and campus and office closures. Advisories were also sent concerning those areas of public transportation that were impacted by the storm. Information was even provided about shelter locations. Updates were continually sent until the crisis was over.

In addition to severe weather advisories, you will be apprised of anything that affects public safety for the CUNY Community, such as police activity, flooding, or power outages. The severity of the warning may vary and CUNY Alert messages can range from specific instructions to general warnings.

How to Sign Up

You use your CUNYfirst account to access CUNY Alert.

Current CUNY Alert Users: Current registered users’ notification information has been migrated to CUNYfirst, eliminating the need to sign-up again. You may review and modify your contact information at any time by following the instructions under “How Can I Modify my CUNY Alert Profile”.

New and Current Faculty and Staff: If you are a new faculty or staff member, and you have a CUNYfirst account, you will be auto-enrolled in the CUNY Alert system. Your accounts will be pre-filled with your college affiliation(s) and CUNY business email address, with the option of adding additional contact information. Employees who do not have CUNYfirst accounts, for example, Research Foundation employees, may sign up as Guest Users.

Guest Users – Go to, and click the “Manage Guest Account button. You will need to create a user name and password by clicking on the How Do I Create a User Name? link. After you have filled in the information required to create your account, click on Register. On the next page, fill in the requested information for your profile, then click Save and Continue. On the next page, select CUNY Alert in the Go To box. You are required to select at least one campus. You may choose telephone numbers (up to five voice and five text), and four additional email addresses that you want associated with your account.

Students: New Students and students who have not already enrolled in CUNY Alert may do so by accessing CUNYfirst and clicking on the Self Service link, select Student Center, and then select To Do.

How can I modify my CUNYAlert preferences?

For Faculty and Staff: Log in to CUNYfirst and click on the CUNY Alert Preferences link within Self Service.

For Students: Log in to CUNYfirst, click on the Self Service link, select Student Center, and then select To Do.

You may modify or add locations (campuses and University Offices). You may also modify or add phone (text and voice) numbers, and email addresses.

How can I unsubscribe from CUNY Alert?

Only Students and Guest Users can unsubscribe.

Why am I not receiving any alerts?

Please note that the number of alerts you receive will vary depending on circumstances. You may receive very few alerts and then receive a flurry of notifications during a situation such as Hurricane Sandy.

In the meantime, check your CUNY Alert preferences to ensure that it is up-to-date and reflects all your choices regarding your preferred communication channels.

Why am I receiving multiple emails with the same content?

Check your CUNY Alert preferences in CUNYfirst to review your personal information. Please be aware that if you chose to be notified by more than one CUNY campus, you may receive multiple copies of alerts across all of the channels that you subscribed for – voice, email, and text.


Check your CUNY Alert profile in CUNYfirst to determine whether you selected your correct carrier (e.g. Verizon, AT&T, etc.) for text messaging. Then check whether the telephone number you provided for texting is correct and up-to-date. Do you currently receive other text messages on this phone line? If all is correct, please contact your campus’s service desk for assistance.

Will I be charged for text messages

No, this service is offered free by wireless carriers. The alerts will not count toward your texting limits on your wireless plan.

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