EDITORIAL: Public Safety Leaves Students Unprepared After Threats Surface

The Department of Public Safety, including university police, has ensured us it has handled the first two threats and are investigating the third to the best of its abilities.

There are more police on campus and the school said there has been no immediate threat, but still, students don’t feel safe. The threat of a possible shooter has understandably been taken seriously and while fear and anxiety builds in the school, there’s an unsettling vibe on campus.

The school not informing students of specific details of its investigations into all three threats has put the campus in a state of anxiety. Students still have classes to worry about with midterms finishing up and finals looming around the corner. A lot of students are deciding to go about their business as usual, crossing their fingers and hoping that nothing happens. It appears that campus police have been as transparent as they could be, but students wish they had more information to make decisions with.

After three threats, credible or non-credible, one would expect matters be handled with more urgency, especially when it comes to communication. When the campus community receives late emails hours after a threat, it is impossible to remain calm. On Tuesday, Oct. 29, for roughly two hours, there was no reassurance provided to students that everything was safe. Public Safety may know what to do during a threatening situation, but most students don’t.

This past August, Public Safety hosted an active shooter drill in collaboration with several first responder agencies. They took the right step, preparing for the worstcase scenario. Yes, there is a “Run, Hide & Fight” video on the Public Safety website, albeit, not all students are aware of it to begin with. A shooter drill for the university community won’t ease all of our concerns but it can help prepare for a potential domestic terrorist attack.

Students have expressed to the UT and on social media that the school hasn’t done enough; the threats may be non-credible, but the fear and anxiety is real. Real problems require real solutions. We are grateful for the work and measures Public Safety has already taken, but there’s no such thing as being too prepared for a disaster.

The active shooter drill is a reactive drill that anticipates students already being “shot” and “killed.” Though it is geared toward first responders, the drill does not calculate a regular day on campus, as it is conducted while school is not in session. The Great California ShakeOut allowed students, faculty and staff to understand what to do if and when an earthquake hits Cal State LA. There is no specified campus wide drill during semesters that instructs what to do when there is a possibility of a deadly threat to campus.

Cal State LA should consider the mental health of the campus community. It appears there is no set plan for students outside of hoping that none of the implied threats materialize.