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UC Santa Cruz on alert over threat of violence

January 18, 2011 |  1:29 pm

UC Santa Cruz was open for classes Tuesday, but students and faculty were on alert after the discovery last month of graffiti that warned of violence to be carried out on Jan. 18.

University officials increased security, bringing in extra law enforcement from local communities and other UC campuses to help patrol and ease jitters at a campus shaken by the discovery in December of the threatening scrawls.

They were found in the restroom of a social sciences building and warned of unspecified violence on Jan. 18. Graffiti is not unusual on a college campus, but the fact that these mentioned a specific date prompted officials to inform students, faculty and staff.

University police provided training sessions on how to prepare and respond to violence and asked everyone to report suspicious activities.

“It may be something as benign as someone having a particularly stressful day, but we decided it made sense to err on the side of caution and to ask people for vigilance and to let us know if they observe anything that is of concern,” said campus spokesman Jim Burns.

As of midday, no incidents had been reported, Burns said.

Most students and others on campus were conducting business as usual, but some professors canceled or relocated their classes as a precaution, the spokesman said.

The heightened security on the Santa Cruz campus comes in the wake of the deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, where the accused is a 22-year-old former community college student.

“Those events do serve as a reminder that safety is everyone’s business,” Burns said.


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-- Carla Rivera