Library students suddenly evacuated without warning


Almazan and Tsumujimura did not know why they had to leave, when a woman came up to them asking them to leave they already saw people heading outside. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Students were evacuated from Meriam Library Sunday afternoon without explanation. Campus police have yet to explain the reason for the evacuation.

At around 2:00 p.m. Tammy Almazan and Nami Tsumijmura were studying on the second floor of Meriam Library, when they said a woman walked up to them and told them the library was closing. Alamazan saw people walk out one by one using the emergency exits, noticing people walking around with radios before an evacuation happened.

“We just saw the building getting evacuated one by one,” said Almazan. “We saw other students downstairs already, just waiting, and they were using the emergency exits to get out of the places.”

Almazan was told it would be quick, so she thought it was a practice evacuation.

Almazan and Tusumijura were told to use the emergency exits to leave. They didn’t know what the evacuation was for and went home. They came back to the library six hours later after they said they were bored at home.

They didn’t see any police. The evacuation was not mentioned on Chico State Alerts.

Some students believed there may have been a false alarm about a man who appeared to be carrying a weapon. Sean Murphy of University Communications said that the initial report was of a person with a gun — however, it turned out to be a false alarm, after police had cleared the library.

Student Assistants Evan Rodney and Pedro Calvo attempted to reach an employee at the library for comment or information. Hillary McHenry, who works in Building Management and Student Personnel, explained that only the public relations department could comment on the incident.

McHenry, Library Dean Patrick Newell and the University Police Department have not responded for comment in time for publication.

After multiple attempts at contact Sunday and Monday, UPD initially said that no officers were available to comment on the situation or the reason for the evacuation. On Tuesday, Sean Murphy at University Communications set up a phone interview with The Orion and Chief John Reid, who wanted to meet in person to clarify what had happened.

Reid said the incident was a false alarm, it was the library staff felt that an evacuation was necessary. Officers were not involved with the evacuation.

Reid said UPD did not feel it was an immediate threat without enough evidence. The suspect, a Chico State student, was reported as waving his hands and was not in possession of a weapon.

In addition, no report of this incident is currently on the UPD online daily crime blotter for Sunday incidents.

Julian Mendoza can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JulianMTheOrion.