Security was stepped up again Thursday at Cal State Northridge in response to a social media post that was initially interpreted as a threat against the campus Pride Center, but police said the online comments were investigated and determined not to be any sort of threat.
“CSUN Police investigated the social media post that involved the (Pride Center) and contacted the students who were involved in sending the initial message of concern,” according to a Twitter statement from the university Thursday morning. “CSU Police have determined that there is no threat to the Pride Center.”
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Devonshire Division echoed that conclusion, noting that a social media conversation between two students was interpreted by some people as a potential threat, but the students were interviewed and police determined “there is no threat.”
Campus officials and students were already on edge following two separate threats of violence targeting CSUN over the past week. University officials notified the public Wednesday night about the potentially threatening social media post involving the Pride Center.
“This evening (Wednesday) we became aware of an Instagram story referencing the Pride Center as a potential target, Thursday, Dec. 13,” Pride Center Manager Sarina Loeb said.
“We are taking this incident seriously and reported the information to the CSUN Department of Police Services who is investigating the situation. We are taking necessary precaution and will have a police officer at the Pride Center.”
Although the online post was later debunked and determined not to be a threat, police maintained an increased presence on the campus Thursday.
On Monday night, an expletive-filled letter was found in a room at the university’s Redwood Hall Monday night, and on Dec. 5, violent and racist graffiti was found in a bathroom in Sierra Hall.
Both threats, which CSUN Police Chief Anne Glavin said were not written by the same person, claimed a mass shooting would occur on campus Wednesday, which was the first day of fall semester final exams.
As finals began Wednesday, the school was largely empty of students, who were given off-campus final exam options by the university in response to the discovery of those threats.
“It’s pretty much a ghost town out there,” CSUN spokeswoman Carmen Ramos Chandler told City News Service Wednesday.
School officials made the decision Tuesday that the campus would remain open during the remainder of the semester, but said there would be a stepped-up police presence.
In a statement released Tuesday night, CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said: “While law enforcement does not believe there is an imminent threat to campus, I recognize the extreme stress and anxiety the recent threats of violence have caused our community. To further ease the anxiety students are understandably experiencing that may affect exam performance, finals on Wednesday, December 12, will only be offered in alternative formats.
“For final exams on Thursday, December 13, through Tuesday, December 18, faculty will provide alternative exam format options and accommodate students who are not comfortable coming to campus,” she said. “Students should contact their instructors to request alternative arrangements. Any student requesting such an accommodation will not be subject to any instructor-imposed penalty.”
Harrison said employees concerned about reporting to work should contact their supervisors.
The threatening letter found in Redwood Hall Monday said: “I am writing this to inform the people of CSUN that I will kill everyone on the 12 of December 2018. I am aware that I will probably (be) shot and killed, but before that happens, I’m killing as many (expletive) as I possibly can.”
The person who wrote the letter said a student at Northridge Academy High School, which is adjacent to CSUN, would carry out a mass shooting at that school the same day.
“He’s gonna give bullys (sic) what they deserve, death,” the letter said.
The writer went on to say that police won’t be able to protect students and staff.
“The teachers and proffesors (sic) are surely going to (expletive) die for making students depressed and giving us (expletive) work that will never serve us good in life. You (expletive) are gonna bleed to death.”
Glavin said school police were being assisted by the Los Angeles Police Department in the investigation.