Threats to CSUN push professors to offer alternate testing options; investigation ongoing

The Delmar T. Oviatt Library at California State University Northridge. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

California State University Northridge’s campus remained open this week following two more threats toward students as they studied and prepared for their final exams.

The initial threat, written in a Sierra Hall bathroom and accompanied with a swastika, said the shooting would occur on Dec. 12.

Matthew Yahata, a CSUN student and graduate of West Ranch High School, said he went home on Wednesday out of concern for his safety.

“The letter scared me more than the grafiti,” he said.

On Dec. 10, a letter was found across campus in Redwood Hall just before midnight. The profanity-ridden letter was a threat to students and professors, as well as students at Northridge Academy High School, which sits next to CSUN along Zelzah Avenue.

After the school became aware of the letter, CSUN president Dianne F. Harrison said in a statement that final exams on Dec. 12 would only be offered through different formats. Professors were instructed to extend alternative options upon students’ request from Dec. 13 to 18. The campus will remain open until the end of the semester.

“Students should contact their instructors to request alternative arrangements,” her statement read. “Any student requesting such an accommodation will not be subject to any instructor-imposed penalty.”

Yahata said his professors gave him an online option to take his final exams. From home, he heard from other students that CSUN was a “ghost town” with no students present.

The investigation into the letter was ongoing, said Anne Glavin, CSUN chief of police, on Friday.

Students turned to social media to express their frustration over the campus’ handling of the threats, resulting in a petition urging the campus to close. By Wednesday evening, students received a phone call from the school about a threat directed at the CSUN Pride Center.

“We investigated that,” Glavin said Friday. “Essentially, it was a conversation on Instagram. It looked a bit dark to people who read it without any context. We spoke with the initiate and the recipient, but no threat was ever intended. They were talking about the threat on the twelfth and they hoped that the Pride Center wasn’t targeted.”

With the spring semester set to start Jan. 22, Yahata said students should feel more comfortable.

“The less I think about it, the more I feel safe,” he said. “Whenever I look things up, your energy rises and you start thinking about things like that.”

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