According to police-logs taken during the past 3 days, a student reported information of “possible threats.” Although the report specifically did not state that they were social media related, during the weekend various messages were sent from student to student regarding a lingering fear about their physical safety. Faculty was allegedly overheard on Saturday (04/28), during Night of Culture, discussing a student leader on campus who had changed his profile picture to Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger, the man who murdered 6 people and wounded 14 others near the University of California, Santa Barbara. According to a student who was involved in contacting the police, the officer stated that the student did not own a registered gun and, when interviewed by police, stated that the profile photo was, “just his dark sense of humor.”
Police allegedly finalized their investigation on Friday afternoon (04/27) with the assessment that there was no threat because the change of profile picture fell under his first amendment right. Emails were allegedly sent to the Office of Student Life (OSL) by staff to other administration informing them about the ongoing situation, in which OSL was sub-consequently asked to shut down Culture Night by leadership of ASUCM but did not do so because they were contacted 30 minutes after the event had started. Extra community service officers (CSO’s) were warranted for Night of Culture, an event that had an expectancy of over 1,000 students.
On April 29th, 26 administrators were contacted by newly elected ASUCM president, Stacey Ascencio, demanding UC Merced administration write a statement informing students about the ongoing threat on campus.
President Ascencio also made various other demands including: postponing classes until the situation is resolved and safety is guaranteed to the student body, increasing the amount of onsite psychiatrists for students during the week, place police officers outside of classrooms that have a high volume of students, and including her and Marissa Martinez, the newly elected Internal Vice-President of ASUCM, in conversations regarding the ongoing situation. “I am scared not only for myself but for all students on campus,” ASUCM President Ascencio asserts, “Administration was quick to protect hate speech on campus, but where is that quick response when student safety and lives are at risk.”
After 26 administrators were contacted about the issue via email, the Chief of Police Chou Her and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Charles Nies, released a campus wide announcement to students regarding corners about a social media post with the headline of, “Help Keep Our Campus Safe.”
On Monday morning (04/30), President Ascencio and Internal Vice-President of ASUCM Marissa Martinez, met with Vice-Chancellor Nies to discuss administration’s efforts to protect students. Vice-Chancellor Nies shared that the student is currently not allowed on campus and is under investigation by UC Merced administration. He has also assured that administration is conducting interviews with people affiliated with the student to assess his behavior. UC Merced administration has also taken the steps to further protect students by increasing the number of UC Merced officers, requesting other UC police to stay on campus, and requesting off-site psychologists to come to campus. They will have an updated statement on Thursday to send to students to inform them about the actions being taken by campus.
Note: All contributors for this article requested to remain anonymous. As of now no direct threats have been made and The Prodigy News will be updating the article as new information comes to light.
Update as of May 1st: UCM Mobilize is demanding professors cancel classes in order to take further preliminary measures to protect students.
Chancellor Leland has released a campus wide statement sharing that there will be an increase of police on campus and insists on students to share any information to the proper authority. Any eminent threat will be shared via UCM Alert.