Shooting threat brings emptier campus

LBSU was noticeably quieter as students and faculty opted to stay away.

The Long Beach State campus appeared much emptier Thursday as classrooms and hallways were near void of students and many professors opted to cancel classes.

Students discovered graffiti in a women’s restroom across from Liberal Arts 2 that read “School shooter tm [tomorrow] be warned 5-9.” After a Twitter post went viral and many students reported it to the University Police Department on Wednesday, police investigated the matter and deemed the threat “not credible.”

However, the scare from the evening before rippled through the campus community well into Thursday as many took to Twitter to point out the lack of students and faculty that showed up.

Ryan Estrella, a junior sociology major, learned about the shooting threat from a friend who found out from Twitter.

“Due to the current times that we’re in, I was kind of appalled and I realized that there was a potential of [a shooting] occurring, but then I was also hoping it was a prank,” he said.

Estrella showed up to school because he had a sociology final to attend. His professor allowed students to retake their final on a different day, but Estrella wanted to get his final over with.

“I wouldn’t say that I was fearful, but I was just more vigilant,” Estrella said. “I was a lot more observant of my surroundings and I kept the phrase ‘Run, hide and fight’ repeating in my mind so it was a constant reminder that if there is something to occur then I at least know what to do.”

Estrella also noted that the campus seemed considerably empty compared to previous school days.

“In my first class the room was one-quarter full, and it tends to be quite empty … and I did have a lot of people text me that they weren’t going to come,” he said.

According to President Jane Close Conoley, the UPD increased enforcement throughout campus while the Long Beach Police Department patrolled the outside perimeter.

Long Beach State received backlash on social media from some students for what they felt was a lack of transparency and a lack of action by the school.

“It wasn’t too much to ask for classes to be cancelled today,” one tweet read. “Most of the businesses on campus closed for today. If big corporations are doing a better job of taking care of their people than you are, you’re doing something seriously wrong.”

Anna Vue, a senior in consumer affairs, felt that the school at least tried to address concerns while still keeping the school under control.

“They took a while for students to even know about it, but I understand their point of view too,” Vue said. “They didn’t want to scare away the students, you know?”

Vicki Higginbotham drove out from Torrance to sit by The Outpost Grill and wait for her daughter, Mia Higginbotham, a master’s public administration major, to get out of class. She said she never takes her daughter to school.

“We really don’t know especially in today’s times how serious this is,” Higginbotham said. “This could be real. But then we feel like if someone is twisted to but something in a bathroom in today’s times, we don’t take it lightly.”

Higginbotham said she had a family member who survived the Las Vegas concert shooting in October 2017, which was then deemed the deadliest shooting in modern history. Ever since then, their family has taken threats like these very seriously.

“It’s real, and people are desensitized… [but] it only takes once,” Higginbotham said.

Austin Brumblay and Perry Continente contributed to this article.

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