CSUF police ensure vigilance in wake of shootings at University of Alabama

Daily Titan Asst. News Editor

Amy Bishop, suspected of shooting up a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, Huntsville on Feb. 12, is taken away by police. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Mark Holloway

Throughout the United States, shootings pose grave problems on college campuses. In 1976, Cal State Fullerton was no exception, but since then it hasn’t experienced any extreme acts of violence.

“Yes, I feel safe here at Cal State Fullerton. Last summer, within minutes of the earthquake that occurred in Chino Hills, students were receiving texts and automated phone calls notifying them not to come to campus or to leave,” said Associated Students Inc. Vice President Joseph Lopez.

Text messages and calls, like the ones Lopez mentioned, are a part of the connect-ed program at CSUF, which notifies students, faculty and staff if an incident were to occur, similar to the one that took place Friday Feb. 12 at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Shots rang out during a biology faculty meeting held in the afternoon, leaving three killed and three wounded.

According to the Huntsville Times, the suspect, Amy Bishop, a Harvard-educated neuroscientist and professor at the University of Alabama, unleashed gunfire on her fellow faculty members during a meeting held at the Shelby Center on campus. Motives for her actions were attributed to the fact that she was denied tenure and would have to look for work elsewhere at the end of the spring semester.

CSUF has many precautions to prevent or execute when dealing with an incident of this magnitude. Lt. Don Landers of CSUF University Police commented on the preparedness of his officers who are trained by, “The Active Shooter program, which gives direction and policy guidance to the officers on how to respond to those types of events.” Landers said. “We train on it regularly, and go through a rigorous background process.”

New ideas to help in preparing CSUF for events like the University of Alabama shooting or to prevent them from happening at all were discussed by assistant professor of political science Scott Spitzer.

“What might be helpful is for some kind of evaluation of stress level for students, staff and faculty across the board,” Spitzer said.

The process of tenure can be capricious but is recognized as a high achievement, and when being granted tenure, that professor has attained a certain level of excellence, Spitzer explained.

“The positives to tenure are the security gained. It allows scholars to think outside the box and take risks intellectually, promoting faculty to be innovative. The negative is that if a professor doesn’t get tenure then they have to leave and look for another job,” Spitzer said. “Being denied tenure at an institution such as Harvard or Berkeley is routine, but if denied at a Cal State or institution such as the University of Alabama, it is likely that they would have to change careers.”

Cal State Fullerton’s process for tenure is straightforward and transparent, ensuring professors who are on the track toward tenure that they are aware of the necessary criteria.

Despite the theory that Bishop’s denial of tenure was the most likely cause for her rampage, she had been well aware of her denial for tenure since April 2009 and has multiple violent incidents on her record.

“This happened in Alabama which has very lax gun control laws. My question is how come it’s so darn easy for people nowadays to get guns? This is just another example of how gun violence is ripping our country,” Spitzer said.

About Laura Barron-Lopez