Cal State Long Beach’s Shooter Threats Reveal Faulty Security System


Photo courtesy of Ivet Ramirez

Students stacked chairs to block a door to classroom at CSU Long Beach.

Kobi Khong, Photojournalist

An unidentified student of Cal State University Long Beach sent an email threatening “acts of violence” towards individuals on campus on Monday, October 7th. 

The threat focused mainly on the college’s Student Success Center. By around 3:40 p.m. the validity of the email was certified and an alert was sent throughout campus warning everyone on school grounds to take shelter in case of an emergency. Fortunately the CSULB Police Department was able to take the sole suspect in custody and lift the emergency alert by 4:23 p.m., ensuring the security of the campus.

Thankfully, due to the dedication of the police department, all issues were resolved in a timely and safe manner, but the shooter scare unearthed more problems deeper within the system of security within the campus. In the aftermath of the chaos, a series of tweets from students as well as teachers on campus went viral, pointing out the flaws in the school’s security.

One professor’s tweets specifically became the focus of the public; Ragan Fox, a teacher of Rhetoric and Performance Studies, illustrated the extent to which he and the students had to in order to protect themselves. He also criticized CSULB’s lack of protocol for such scenarios. Fox described the lay out of the room with four points of entry, none of which can be locked. Furthermore, the desks which were bolted to the floor left them with only loose chairs to barricade the openings.

Furthermore, in a Periscope live stream, Ragan Fox deliberated on the absurdity of the systems in place, such as the school’s lack of active shooter drills during the actual semester, or basic protocol or classes for students to be taught on the basics of campus safety issues. One of the largest points of critique of the college is the fact that teachers are unable to lock the doors, despite the rising acts of violence as well as media coverage regarding school shootings. 

The issue is that within the recent years—dishearteningly—these school shootings and massacres have become so common within our society, children are being born with the knowledge that these acts of domestic terrorism are commonplace. Already across the country many high schools and even elementary schools are going through drills specifically focused on teaching children how to act when their lives are placed in harm’s way. Yet the fact that such a large university is unable to guarantee basic safety precautions for its thousands of students and professors is terrifying.

Alice Ding (12), when asked about how our active shooter drills at our own Yorba Linda High School affect the students, said, “Although the drills we have at school can be stressful to some or even on the other hand a waste of time to others, it’s clear that these active shooter drills are really important for our safety.” 

All in all, the best we can hope for is that this is a learning experience for campuses across the country. Better yet, we can hope for a day that these drills are no longer needed.