Cal State San Bernardino Campus Shooting

Cal State San Bernardino policeHours after the new university president had finished presiding over fall graduation ceremonies – his first at his new campus – disaster struck. A resident student who had shown signs of past erratic behavior encountered and assaulted campus police at a residential housing unit. As the chief public affairs officer, Sid Robinson was part of the emergency response team when word broke that officers had shot and killed the student.

Because of the nature of the event, the city of San Bernardino police were very involved and took over the incident scene. Working closing with city police, we developed our communications strategies to communicate with all constituents and to address the media, which was quickly on site. News spread rapidly after a statement was posted on the campus website. Calls from news agencies came from around the nation throughout the night. Local television crews were on campus for early morningHuff Post Bart Williams reports the next day. After conducting a series of live morning interviews to communicate basic information, the university’s Office of Public Affairs scheduled a press conference for later in the day to provide updates and additional information and position the new president as the face of the university. Simultaneously, statements penned for the president were sent to students, faculty, staff, donors and alumni, with plans to hold open forums throughout the week to further discuss the situation.

Because of the story’s magnitude, it was major news for several days. However, in addressing the issue immediately with full cooperation and transparency, the story was out of the news by the end of the week. While we could never anticipate the circumstances of this exact situation, we were prepared to respond quickly, honestly and with sensitivity, which helped to ensure this tragic incident was reported accurately without unwarranted speculation and blame.

 

“Sid is an exceptional individual who handles challenges like a seasoned professional.”

– Ron Fremont, Vice President, University Advancement, Cal State San Bernardino

 

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