Freshman Edward Alvarez peered through his dorm shades and looked down at a barren
California State University, Northridge campus. He sat on his bed to take his sociology final exam that had been moved online due to shooter threats made on campus earlier in the week.
Alvarez was just one of many students obligated to take their final out of the classroom last December – the situation adding nervousness to an already stressful week, he said.
“The campus spends crazy amounts of money to make it look nice but when it comes to things that matter like safety, I’m just supposed to sit in my room and hope it goes away,” he said.
The American school system has seen a sharp increase in campus threats since the Parkland, Florida mass shooting that occurred in February 2018. An average of over 50 threats are recorded a day, according to data provided by The Educators School Safety Network.
California tops that list, claiming 10 threats a day, with over half of those stemming from the Southern California region.
Long Beach State has taken action in wake of the upward trend, offering active shooter training to students, clubs and employees.
Outside of the one-hour safety presentation, however, LBSU currently places most of the responsibility of safety on the students and faculty during a campus threat, where they are advised to seek shelter and hide in case of an emergency, according to campus officials.
Doors in LBSU halls have also raised concern among students and instructors as they are keypad operated and cannot be locked from inside the classroom. This has prompted officials to encourage faculty to a use a person’s belt, rope or miscellaneous classroom items to secure the door closed in case of an emergency.
“Knowing that anyone has the ability to walk into a classroom given recent atrocities has put me on edge,” said senior kinesiology major Chris Snow.
In contrast, other colleges in the California State University system have taken a more proactive approach to campus threats. Over summer 2018, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo completed a $200 million dormitory tower that added lockdown features to the building as well as existing campus classrooms. The giant red lockdown button gives individuals the ability to seal all doors and windows at the press of a button, according to campus spokesman Matt Lazier.
According to the UPD, the campus does plan to alter the door lock hardware within the next 24 months to allow them to be locked from inside the classroom and meet the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Officials also plan on expanding education on shooter threat scenarios by including seminars as part of student orientation as well as administering campus drills.
LBSU ranks fourth among the 23 CSU campuses and 12th in the state for reported incidents, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
- 174 Thefts
- 66 Destruction of Property
- 23 Illegal Drugs
- 10 Violent Crimes
- 1 Hate Crime
“Going forward I hope more preventative measures will be taken against guns and gun safety,” Alvarez said. “The last place someone should feel unsafe is a classroom.”
This article was edited on Jan. 31, for a miss-transcribed quote.