On Tuesday, Feb 27, Corvallis resident Christopher Strahan was arrested for tweeting threats of mass gun violence against Oregon State University. Strahan was not enrolled in OSU at that time, but he was enrolled at Linn Benton Community College in Albany. Some of Strahan’s classmates at LBCC have raised serious concerns about OSU’s lack of communication regarding the threat to students and administration at both colleges.
OSU released a warning about “concerning tweets” via their own Twitter account after the threats were discovered, and followed up an hour later with an email finally specifying that threats of violence had indeed been made. Meanwhile, Strahan’s LBCC classmates unassumingly showed up to class with no idea that their lives may have been in danger as well.
Strahan was thankfully absent from class that day, but the situation left many students shaken, questioning both schools’ communication tactics and their abilities to keep students safe.
The following day, LBCC Vice President Dave Henderson, Dean Sally Widenmann, and Dean of Students Lynne Cox spoke with students and fielded their questions. The students were predominantly concerned about OSU’s communication, or lack thereof, with LBCC regarding the possible threat to students on the Albany campus.
The three administrative officials thanked the students for their input, and assured them that their concerns would be addressed at the Threat Assessment Team meeting the following day. This team consists of LBCC managers, staff, faculty, and counselors, along with Linn County Mental Health, and various local and federal law enforcement representatives.
While the minutes of that meeting are confidential, Lynne Cox asserts that communication issues between the two schools are being explored and evaluated.
“We are discussing inviting OSU to join that conversation to discuss future working agreements,” says Cox. “If we can create a forum where students directly impacted can speak to LBCC and OSU at the same time, we believe it will help address current student concerns, feelings, and needs.”
After the TAT meeting, an email from Vice President Dave Henderson was sent to LBCC students stating that LBCC is taking action to exclude Strahan from campus and classes.
Not Stahan’s First Threat
This isn’t the first time that Strahan has faced legal troubles for these kinds of threats. He was arrested in 2017 for, you guessed it, threatening to execute a mass shooting at OSU.
OSU has released a list of proposed actions to improve student safety in the aftermath of this incident, but has not acknowledged a communication problem with LBCC. OSU Vice President Steve Clark has not responded to our request for comment.
Despite both schools’ commitment to the safety of their students, some LBCC members remain skeptical that OSU will enact the appropriate actions to help safeguard their Albany neighbors, many of whom attend both schools.
A classmate of Strahan’s, who we’ve chosen to keep anonymous for safety reasons, expressed unease, while suggesting an idea to help remedy safety issues like this in the future.
“It really seemed like [OSU] wasn’t taking this seriously enough,” he commented. “The schools might want to couple their alert systems, but it seems like they might not even want to go that far.”
Christopher Strahan is being held on $100,000 bail, and is under state orders prohibiting him from possessing weapons or having any contact with OSU or social media pending release.
LBCC administration suggests all students sign up for emergency notifications via Webrunner, as well as providing updated emergency contacts.
By Jay Sharpe