The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Campus police create threat management unit

An event like the one that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus April 16 can’t be predicted, but CSUN officials are working to prevent anything similar from happening on campus.

In response to the Virginia Tech shootings, Cal State Northridge’s Department of Public Safety has organized a threat management unit to aid in identifying possibly dangerous people.

“We haven’t had a designated unit like this for CSUN,” said Christina Villalobos, community relations officer and special assistant to the chief of police.

CSUN Police Chief Anne Glavin and head of the Department of Public Safety, initiated a program much like this one when she was chief of police at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998.

This type of assessment was first pioneered by the U.S. Secret Service as a tool for investigating threats against the president and other important officials.

As for 23-year-old gunman Cho Seung-Hui, Virginia Tech officials didn’t overlook his mental state. It was later reported that in 2005, two female students told campus police that Seng-Hui was stalking them, but they never pressed charges against him. When he was finally convinced to seek counseling, Virginia courts proclaimed he was a danger to himself. Seung-Hui was ordered to receive outpatient mental health treatment.

One of Seung-Hui’s professors even reported that his writings were about a lot of violence, but the university could do nothing because they were part of an assignment and he wasn’t threatening anyone.

But this concept isn’t based on counselors breaking doctor-patient confidence. Instead, campus officials and police officers will investigate reported incidents.

Dee L. Shepherd-Look, a psychology professor and director of the Omega Center for Mental Health, said, “We can do more if we can talk to and approach students about this.”

“There’s always a fear when something totally unpredictable occurs,” Shepherd-Look said.

Shepherd-Cook said CSUN should have open discussions about violence in order to be able to assess dangers.

“Knowledge is power and knowledge reduces fear,” Shepherd-Look said.

Nineteen-year-old deaf studies major Alicia Galvan said she feels safe on campus.

“I see cops around patrolling in cars,” Galvan said.

But Galvan said she thinks crimes are going to occur regardless of the number of police officers patrolling campus.

Eighteen-year-old freshman business major Max Norris said he thinks the program is a good idea.

“It couldn’t hurt to have this unit,” Norris said.

The Department of Public Safety, along with Academic Affairs, are available to help those who need counseling services. There’ll be three police officers appointed to the threat management unit.

Villalobos said students should report any incidents of violence or threats to the Department of Public Safety.

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