Student, ‘Can Stachura just walk onto campus?’

Emotions run high at safety forum


Issac Brundage, vice president of student affairs, addressing students and staff at the forum. Photo taken Jan. 25, by Ariana Powell.

One question stumped every board and authority member in attendance, “Can Stachura just walk onto campus?” a crowd member asked.

University Police Interim Chief Christopher Nicodemus motioned for the mic and stated that he did not know the criteria of “his” suspension, and asked if anyone else knew. After a few moments of silence, Stephen Perez, the interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, who has been at Chico State for a little over a week, said “We will check.”

Nicodemus was able to speak for the security efforts surrounding Holt Hall, saying that there were daily reports, and that they are in constant contact with Stachura. To this, an exasperated student pointed out that a person stole some items from Holt Station, a development that Nicodemus confirmed during the forum. She stated that she hadn’t seen any officers around the hall when she had been in the area.

More and more biology students stepped forward during the campus safety open forum on Wednesday, Jan. 25 calling for accountability from those involved in the situation and stating that “seeing some accountability being taken would help moving forward.”

“President Hutchinson has apologized, and if Hutchinson needs to apologize again I’m sure she’s willing to do that again,” Perez said.

One student, Ashley, last name unknown, stepped forward with tears in her eyes.

“Even though the locks have been changed, there’s a feeling [in Holt Hall classrooms] that anything can happen at any moment,” she said.

Safety and protection from Stachura were the top concerns, however Perez and Brundage’s responses seemed to repeat each other. One common response being that it is the University’s responsibility to look back and see where it could have done better and make adjustments to do better in the future. Perez’s status as a new board member also seemed to prevent him from answering some questions.

Perez told The Orion that he “needed to schedule a tour of Holt Hall,” because he hasn’t been to the building yet.

More students began to ask for specific emergency action plans for departments. It was confirmed that a general emergency action plan will be released this semester, and Pratt stated that department emergency plans can be found on the CSUC website.

In front of board members, faculty and students, both in-person and online, presented hard questions. Questions ranging from the lockdown that occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to the situation surrounding David Stachura and his violent threats that came to the surface at the end of the Fall 2022 semester, were asked.

Krystal Alvarez, the Associated Students president, opened the forum by announcing the schedule for the hour and a half of allotted time. From 2:33 p.m., when the gavel struck the table, until 2:39 p.m., Jade Tsao, the AS executive vice president, led a brief Government Affairs Committee meeting. Minutes were read and approved and announcements regarding elections were made.

Issac Brundage, vice president of student affairs, started at Chico State in Fall 2022. Brundage started the forum and made it clear what the intentions of the forum were: how to report an incident, what happens after the report is completed, identify campus safety resources and collect feedback.

“In recent weeks, a number of students and employees indicated they didn’t feel safe while in certain situations on campus, which isn’t acceptable,” Brundage told The Orion.

This is part of the reason why the forum took place at the beginning of this semester. Board members also became aware that students and faculty members did not know how to report incidents, or what happened after a report was submitted.

Additionally, Brundage wanted to make it clear that the University, and President Hutchinson, know that they need to rebuild trust with the school’s community, and begin to move forward.

“We hear you, we understand you, we know that there is anxiety,” Brundage said

Afterward, Brundage reminded those in attendance of the different resources and safety efforts available on campus. Such programs include group therapy sessions, a safety website that can be found at the bottom of the Chico State home page and organized healing sessions. They also revealed an incident report form that is now on the student portal that will provide a more direct path to sending in a report. Brundage said that the site isn’t live right now, because they are fixing some “bugs.”

The Campus Assessment Response and Evaluation and Campus Violence Consultation teams, among others, were also discussed as being boards that assess threats on campus, and respond to student and faculty conduct reports of all types.

Nicodemus, reminded students of the Campus Connection shuttle, and how to contact them if a problem arises. UPD can be contacted at their non-emergency number, 530-898-5555, or for emergencies call 911.

J. Marvin Pratt, the director of Environmental Health and Safety, then followed by reminding attendees of the AS-led Moonlight Safety Walk that pairs faculty members with students as they walk and explore the campus area at night.

Brundage and Perez prepared the audience for the forum. The first person to take the mic was Allison Wagner, the AS director of Student Affairs.

Wagner said that during the lockdown on Tuesday she hadn’t received a text or call regarding the lockdown, despite being opted-in to the notifications. At first Brundage stated that Wagner may not have verified her phone number, or should ask ITSS for help, but more students at the forum came forward reiterating the same issue.

“There was no action in class, no one knew what to do, some wanted to leave, others wanted to lock the doors,” one student said. 

Perez responded saying that everyone should “lock the doors and shelter in place.”

During the forum Perez said that “how to lock doors is a conversation that is ongoing,” a sentiment Perez shared with The Orion after the forum.

When asked about the lack of Columbine locks, mechanisms that lock from the inside, Perez told The Orion that campus security is continuously checked and updates and access changes are made as needed.

One such access change was made last semester when Holt Hall was re-keyed as part of Stachura’s paid-leave conditions. However, this was not enough for most students at the forum. Many came forward expressing heavy concern regarding Stachura’s possible return, as well as possible retaliation if disciplinary action is taken against “him.”

Toward the end of the forum a student asked if students could talk about Stachura, since throughout the forum board members referred to the professor as “him.” Brundage and Perez said that students, since they aren’t university representatives, can say his name, but board members can’t.

As soon as the numbers on the clock read 4 p.m., Brundage began to close the forum. He reiterated that the University is planning on having campus safety open forums more frequently, specifically at the beginning of each semester, and that other programs would be holding similar forums.

“I feel appreciative for the student forum and employee forum yesterday. I understand where we can do better and where we can improve,” Perez told The Orion after the forum.
Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].