Point Loma Nazarene University cancelled all classes today after a potential threat was made involving the university.
In a campus-wide email sent at 8:22 a.m., the PLNU Department of Public Safety said, “This morning PLNU received information from the FBI about a possible threat to a PLNU campus. The FBI is investigating. PLNU is working with both the FBI and SDPD.”
Kaz Trypuc, Public Safety Supervisor, declined to give any further information when contacted by The Point. The Point confirmed with San Diego Police Department Western Division that the threat was made online.
The FBI released an official statement that said they were notified about the threat in the early morning of Oct. 25.
“Immediately, upon notification of the potential threat, our Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) engaged with our federal, state and local partners to investigate…However, the investigation to date has determined that this is not an active shooter threat,” said Davene Butler, Special Agent for the FBI San Diego, in an email to The Point.
The Early Childhood Learning Center, a preschool located on the campus of PLNU, notified the parents of children at 8:20 a.m. this morning, before the rest of the campus was alerted.
“There has been a threat to one of our university students which may or may not happen but is being taken very seriously,” the email to parents said. Jill Monroe, Director of Public Affairs was unable to confirm with The Point whether or not the threat was targeted at a specific student or the overall university.
“Our top priority is the safety of our students and our campus communities. As a result, it was out of an abundance of caution that the university chose to cancel all classes at PLNU campuses through today, October 25th,” said Monroe in a statement from the university and on the phone with The Point.
It also said that the university is “not on a full lockdown” but that residential students on campus are encouraged to remain in their residence halls “where staff is on hand and food is being provided.”
Students had difficulty leaving the campus through the one main campus opening on Lomaland Drive.
“My experience was interesting — there was only one way off campus until they opened up the gate by the package pick up,” said Brandon Lazarescu, PLNU student. The additional campus entrance/exit is off of Dupont Street, near Cabrillo Hall. “The campus was locked in because of the volume of people trying to leave. Took me longer than I would have liked to get off campus in this situation.”
PLNU responded quickly to the situation after classes were cancelled, delivering food to the dorms. Resident Assistants tried to reassure students throughout the day, despite the lack of information provided.
“I would definitely say I appreciate how flexible everyone has been in such a unique experience,” said Brittney Siordia, PLNU Student and Nease Hall RA. “It is unfortunate that today had to go the way it had, though. Today I was reminded why I picked Loma in the first place. People matter. Things matter.”
As theories about the nature of the threat circulated and fear escalated, PLNU student Kaila Gutierrez found herself confused and disoriented after leaving her class early when it was cancelled.
“I’ve never thought I would experience something like this. Even though it’s not an active shooter situation, it’s still anxiety inducing because we students didn’t get many details on what specifically was happening,” Gutierrez said.
After residential students settled into their dorms for the day, they were asked not to leave. With so few details initially, students attempted to stay busy.
“People were kind of nervous at first, but it is almost like it’s a Sunday — people are just doing homework and watching Netflix,” said Hannah-Rae Ernst, a PLNU student who spent the day in the dorms on campus. “Some people went away to Disneyland or up the coast, but it is pretty quiet otherwise. It’s just weird seeing Pub Safe everywhere.”
At 5:19 p.m. on Oct. 25, PLNU released a statement that re-opened the main residential campus. Classes will resume tomorrow, Oct. 26. While full operation is set to be underway, PLNU described the investigation as “ongoing.”
To subscribe to PLNU’s Emergency Alert System text PLNUALERT to 67283.
The Point will keep the PLNU community informed as more details develop.