Policing Task Force meeting Zoom bombed with hate speech

Chico State’s Policing Task Force hosted a meeting on Tuesday at approximately 5:30 p.m. Shortly after, the Zoom bombing began.  

“It started out with kid’s noises, random noises,” said Alexander Smith, a Chico State student who witnessed the Zoom bombing.

The noises then progressed to pornographic material. Suddenly, the chat was bombarded with hate speech that included the N-word. 

According to Smith, the Zoom bomb lasted approximately eight minutes before the meeting ended. 

“A couple of students said they were being Zoom bombed,” Smith said. “The coordinators kinda fumbled in dealing with the Zoom bombing while it was occuring.” 

Some students didn’t feel the university did enough to promote the open meeting. 

“I didn’t even know about the meeting until I got the email apologizing for the bombing,” Chico State student Taylor Austin said. “I feel as though it’s not widely advertised on purpose to make it seem like students, especially those of color, don’t care about things like this.” 

Chico State Media Relations Coordinator Sean Murphy told the Chico Enterprise Record that the meeting was not recorded to give people “time and space to feel free to talk about their concerns and share their perspectives in a space where they felt free to speak their truths.” The University Police Department expressed their goals for the Policing Task Force’s efforts. 

“We want our University Police Department to engage in positive interactions and have the tools they need to be successful,” said an email sent to students by the Policing Task Force. “We hope to change and challenge our department to be one that other police departments will emulate.” Some of the common themes the task force found are: 

  • Strengthen the relationships among UPD and the larger campus community 
  • Create systems of transparent accountability 
  • Ensure public safety 
  • Promote wellness  
  • Center fairness and respect 

Some students are more uncertain of the University Police presence.  “I don’t see a reason why University Police should be armed, I don’t even think they should be here,” Austin said. “I don’t feel safe when I see them especially if I am with a group of my friends who are also Black because we’ve been stopped before because the police said we all looked suspicious.”

Some students remain skeptical of the task force’s potential impact. 

“The school needs to actually put in the work to be diverse instead of claiming they are every chance they get because it’s not helping anyone,” Austin said.  

Some students felt the Zoom bombing will make students reluctant to come forward in future forums. 

“It was a very intense experience,” Smith said, in regards to the Zoom bomb, “I can only imagine other students felt the same way as well. Whether it was purposeful or not, this has silenced folks on speaking on this issue.” 

After the Zoom bombing occured, the university reached out to students who witnessed the bombing, offering help in the form of counselors. 

“I think that more could have been done to prevent this from happening,” Smith said, “but it just wasn’t.” 

According to Murphy, the University Police are currently investigating the incident stating they are adopting better practices in order to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.  

Mary Cron can be reached at [email protected]