Mass Shooting Threats At CSUN Rattle Students; President Says Campus Will Stay Open

(Courtesy SonnyandSandy via Flickr)

Students at Cal State Northridge say they don't feel safe on the campus this week after authorities were alerted to a pair of violent threats, both warning of a mass shooting on the campus on Dec. 12, which marks the start of finals week.

On Monday night, a handwritten, profanity-filled letter started making the rounds on social media, claiming a shooting would take place Wednesday at CSUN and at nearby Northridge Academy High School.

"...the police won't be able to protect you sons of ———," the letter reads.

The letter follows the discovery of graffiti last week in a campus restroom stall. It included a swastika and threatened a mass shooting at the university's Sierra Hall.

At a press conference this morning, CSUN President Dianne Harrison and CSUN Police Chief Anne Glavin told reporters that they did not believe the incidents presented an imminent threat. Glavin also reported that one person had been interviewed in connection to the threats after posting provocative items on social media, but that the person had since taken most of those posts down and was not considered a person of interest.

Harrison announced earlier Tuesday that the CSUN campus will remain open, though teachers have been instructed to "provide alternative examination options for their students that would not require students to be physically present on campus Wednesday."

"Should the circumstances change," she wrote in a letter posted to the university's website Tuesday, "the status of the December 12th finals and campus services will be updated."

CSUN officials are working with the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate. They do not believe the letter and the graffiti were written by the same person, Glavin said, and they are looking into the possibility that the threats were made by someone hoping to get out of exams.

"That's the 2018 version of pulling a fire drill or calling in a bomb threat," she said. "That doesn't mean we take it any less seriously. We don't... is this the same thing? We don't know."

(Courtesy Daily Sundial)

As to whether the latest threat is credible, Glavin said that she could not comment. However, an increased police presence is now at the school, and will remain there throughout finals week.

"Sadly, the world in which we live requires we take threats of violence and expressions of hate seriously — even when there is no evidence to suggest that the threatened acts are likely to materialize," Harrison said in a letter to students, faculty and parents.

A petition was started on change.org to urge CSUN officials to close the campus on Dec. 12. It was nearing 12,000 signatures as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.

"Though this is a fragile situation during finals week, the safety of CSUN students, faculty, must come first," the petition states.

UPDATES:

9:10 a.m.: This article was updated with new information from CSUN officials.

11:06 a.m.: This article was updated with information from this morning's press conference.

This article was originally published at 8:48 a.m.


Hey, thanks. You read the entire story. And we love you for that. Here at LAist, our goal is to cover the stories that matter to you, not advertisers. We don't have paywalls, but we do have payments (aka bills). So if you love independent, local journalism, join us. Let's make the world a better place, together. Donate now.