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Shooting threat hits campus

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Shooting threat hits campus

Jeff Bliss, Executive Director of University Communications for Cal State East Bay discusses the shooting threat in an interview with KRON 4 News

Jeff Bliss, Executive Director of University Communications for Cal State East Bay discusses the shooting threat in an interview with KRON 4 News

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THEPIONEER

Jeff Bliss, Executive Director of University Communications for Cal State East Bay discusses the shooting threat in an interview with KRON 4 News

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THEPIONEER

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THEPIONEER

Jeff Bliss, Executive Director of University Communications for Cal State East Bay discusses the shooting threat in an interview with KRON 4 News

Kris Stewart,
Online and Social Media Editor

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At approximately 6:45 p.m. on Friday, April 10, California State University, East Bay students, faculty and staff received a “timely warning” through a variety of alerts regarding the threat of a possible shooting on campus the following day, Saturday, April 11.

It started with an overheard conversation on the school campus’ track, according to Sheryl Boykins, Chief of University Police. Boykins said a student was jogging on campus and overheard a conversation from a group of males that he neither knew, nor recognized.

Boykins explained that one of those students said something about having acquired a gun and planning to bring it to campus on Saturday. “That was the extent of our information at that time,” said Boykins.

The student who overheard the conversation shared the information with another CSUEB student, who then posted the information on Facebook, Boykins said. This prompted calls from the campus community, including concerned parents who read the Facebook post online.

“And once that information was out before we could vet it, we decided to put out a timely warning to the campus,” said Boykins.

Jeff Bliss, executive director of university communications, said this is the first time the university has sent out this type of alert. The university sent emails, phone calls, social media and text messages utilizing “AlertMe,” an alerting and warning service for students, staff and faculty.

After alerts went out, Bliss received dozens of emails and phone calls inquiring about the alleged threat. After hearing the details, he was asked by concerned citizens why the university would send out a series of alerts for what seemed like a low threat situation.

“Out of an abundance of caution. We all know the history [of school shootings] out there. We know the story. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Bliss. He continued to say that he wanted to give the students and community all the information they had so that people could make the best decision for their personal safety.

Depending on the nature of the threat, CSUEB can have increased police presence on campus as long as they have the resources to provide them. Bliss says the university maintained communication with local and statewide officials throughout the duration of the threat. “It’s part of preparation as well as follow up,” said Bliss.

According to Boykins, this is the first shooting threat in CSUEB history, although she could not verify this with certainty.
“Anytime there’s information of that type we don’t have the luxury anymore of taking it for granted or not taking it serious,” said Boykins.

UPD is in the process of putting posters in every building that explain what to do in the case of an emergency, as well as hosting an active shooter training throughout the campus for each building to guide students through the protocol of what to do and how to act in the event of a school shooting.

“We’re doing it in small groups. I think that’s more effective,” said Boykins. “Each building has its own unique emergency responses and escape routes.”

After the initial notification, students began to post on social media about the threat. A member of Sigma Sigma Sigma at CSUEB posted in a Facebook group that the threat was towards Alpha Phi’s third annual Red Dress Gala to be held on Saturday evening.

The event was cancelled as a result of the alleged threat. “I’m very heartbroken this had to happen, but it is for our best,” said a member of Alpha Phi.

Boykins cautions students to think before posting on social media in the future. “When they [students] post things on social media, be aware of the consequences of their posting.”

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California State University East Bay
Shooting threat hits campus