Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter to the editor: Oct. 7 shelter-in-place incident

Disclaimer: This is a letter to the editor and does not reflect the values or beliefs of the Daily Forty-Niner.

As someone with a family member attending Long Beach State, I am gravely concerned that school administration does not appear to be taking the Oct. 7 shelter-in-place emergency seriously enough.
School officials have been quoted as saying that upgrades to door locks are “a work in progress,” and an email from Christopher Reese, associate vice president for university relations on behalf of President Jane Conoley states, “…we will continue the process of retrofitting our teaching spaces with shelter-in-place locks.”
There is no mention of expediting lock installation in view of the recent incident.  Rather, administration appears content to merely proceed with the same retrofitting project that has already been underway for two years.
I understand, as Reese stated, that classroom doors and frames require updating to meet California building and fire code standards.  My concern, however, is the immediate safety of CSULB students, not the ongoing process of eventually bringing the entire campus up to code.
There is no justification for delaying the installation of locks until complete retrofitting can be accomplished.  Campus maintenance crews must immediately install deadbolts in every classroom door not currently able to be locked from the inside.  It may be that some of the work will need to be duplicated later as doors and frames are upgraded.  Granted, that may well entail additional cost, but the safety of CSULB students must take precedence.
Certainly deadbolts are not the complete answer to student safety, but they would at least provide some immediate protection from intruders.  My assumption is that school administrators all have doors that can be locked from the inside — shouldn’t students have at least that same level of security?
When considering college options, most families look carefully at academic programs, cost, housing and the like, but in all likelihood very few of them think to verify that classrooms doors have locks to keep students safe.
CSULB was negligent in not having working locks already in place in all classroom doors.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in Monday’s incident.  Administration must act now to ensure that students are adequately and immediately protected against any future threats.  Students and their family members are entitled to the assurance that CSULB is doing all in its power to keep the campus safe.

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