As a student and a member of the Thousand Oakes community, I have been feeling overwhelmed by the events affecting our community over the past few days. However, something that I have been able to focus on is the fact that we must not forget everything that has happened or be distracted by the chaos. Listed are the past few events our community has endured that we cannot brush aside and that we must have clear and thoughtful conversation over, once we are finished mourning.

Wednesday Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in St. Robert's Auditorium:

The on-campus conservative group, the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), held an event called Covfefe Wars with conservative speakers Andrew Klavan and Michael Knowles. Many students felt uncomfortable over the past few weeks with the recent activity from the YAF group after they tabled alongside Palm Walk displaying their "All costumes are freedom of speech—change my mind" poster, and instigating tense conversations while promoting their Covfefe Wars events with negative propaganda. The actual event itself consisted of a few conversational topics with some time after for a Q&A for the people attending.

Why it matters?

Students who have felt uneasy by the recent YAF activities went to the Covfefe Wars to stand in and hear what the speakers were talking about. There were a few concerning things to note. One of the speakers, Andrew Klavan, had said various things that go against the general understanding of history and human existence. Some of the take-aways were:

  1. "Skin is a costume" implying that people can "take off" their skin and that the social discussion around skin color has been amplified by Liberals and the media.
  2. Being gay is "in-fashion."
  3. The racism in today's age isn't racism.

There were various other instances where the speakers, and even students during the Q&A, had made comments that implied some concerning realities. There was one point during the event where Michael Knowles would consistently divert from discussion to point out the students who were standing in the back of the room. Knowles singled out the students who had tape over their mouths to protest the event, saying things like, "take the tape off," "you put that there yourself," and other comments.

The reason why the LMU community cannot forget to address these series of events is because YAF has had a history of unsettling the community. Sophomore communications and journalism major Desiree Diaz said, "I think that [YAF] brings very dangerous people onto campus. It's not only physical violence that we have to worry about, but it's the mental violence."

What you can do?

What people can do is continue the conversation and join different cultural groups so that people can become aware of the different experiences on campus. More specifically, there is an Intercultural Talk on Nov. 15 in the Hill at 6 p.m., which can be a good place for students to educate themselves when talking about cultural experiences.

Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Thousand Oaks, CA in Borderline Bar & Grill:

Twelve people were killed and eighteen injured by a former U.S. Marine at Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday evening.

Why it matters?

Thousand Oaks, according to Niche, was said to be the third safest city in America. People who had survived the Las Vegas shooting were present during the Thousand Oaks shooting, one of the victims being Telemachus Orfanos. According to the Independent, before the incident, the gunman said on Facebook, "I hope people call me insane (two smiley face emojiis) would that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah ... I'm insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is 'hopes and prayers' ... or 'keep you in my thoughts.'" There have been over 300 mass shootings since the beginning of the year. That's basically one mass shooting per day. These acts of violence are happening in churches, synagogues, schools and now bars during college nights. These are places people feel the most safe, Thousand Oaks is a city believed to be the most safe. The reality is nowhere is safe, and as a nation, we need to consider doing something more than what we are doing now. We need to reform gun laws and prioritize attending to mental health.

What you can do?

The Thousand Oaks community is going through a lot right now, but there are still things to be done while we mourn. Continue donating blood. Donate through various crowdfunding outlets. Many are on Facebook and, but make sure to confirm they are going to the cause. Contact your representatives to demand change, because while prayers and thoughts are necessary for the comforting and mourning process, they will not bring about immediate or significant change.

Thursday, Nov. 8 all throughout the county of Ventura and Los Angeles:

Various wildfires have broken throughout the counties of Ventura and Los Angeles due to the wind and many of them have yet to be significantly contained. People are losing their homes, their valuables, their animals and their lives. The skies have been fogged and grey as a result of the fires and over 83,000 acres have been affected. Over 200,000 people remain under mandatory evacuation and so many more have been displaced with only about 10 percent of containment.

Why it matters?

The important thing about this situation is that we must talk about how global warming is affecting our climate negatively. We need to force our representatives to put forth initiatives that will work towards bettering the state of our Earth or at least working towards slowing down the process.

What you can do?

A few things you can do:

  1. Open your house through Airbnb to host displaced people.
  2. Keep spreading awareness about the fire through social media.
  3. Donate to certified charities that'll help those affected and those fighting the fire.
  4. Donate through crowdfundings created/promoted through Facebook and/or

Friday Nov. 9 around 6 p.m. on campus:

Just this weekend there was an active shooter hoax on campus. In that moment, LAPD flocked to the scene, but reported no evidence of an active shooter on campus. Students have speculated that it was a prank, and have expressed their concern over the fact that this hoax hasn't been acknowledged and that Department of Public Safety (DPS) did not do more to keep students informed throughout the successions of the events. Many students took to social media like Facebook and Twitter to voice their frustrations.

Why it matters?

As a student, I don't understand how throughout the entirety of the situation I was getting no immediate or reoccurring updates through email or text from neither LMU nor PSAFE. My information was solely coming from the Playa Del Ray Scanner (@PDRScanner), the LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) on Twitter and the frantic messages from my loved ones on campus. The only update I got from LMU was an incomplete text at 6:50 p.m. followed by a corrected text at 7:03 p.m. which stated there was no threat to campus and that LAPD had responded and investigated the active shooter report.

This lack of care and attention to the physical and mental wellbeing of the LMU community is unacceptable because many students felt it was LMU's job to be the main informants of the matter since they are the ones with direct contact to us. I shouldn't have to resort to getting imperative information from Twitter accounts that I don't recognize. What if the active shooter report was real and students who didn't have Twitter or people to warn them remained unaware of the situation? What if the report was real and people didn't have the instruction and guidance from LMU to walk them through to safety? At the moment, we have only gotten an apology message from President Timothy Law Snyder that acknowledged LMU's fault.

What you can do?

Spread awareness about this situation. We can't let this go by as another tragic event. We must hold Public Safety, along with the person who falsely claimed there was an active shooter on-campus, accountable. Sign this petition to show LMU that students are gathering in solidarity to have a conversation about this incident and that we are looking for action and accountability.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, know that I sympathize with you. The mourning process is normal and necessary during this time. If you cannot donate or volunteer then spread awareness about these situations because that can be just as helpful. Share this article especially to those who need direction to resources and to those who can donate and/or volunteer. If any students, faculty or staff need a platform for their voices to be heard or just need someone to talk to who is experiencing the same impact, email me.

For professional counseling, the LMU community can also reach out to the Student Psychological Services (SPS). These are hard times, make sure to take care of yourself.

This is the opinion of Robyn De Leon, a sophomore Spanish and English major from Thousand Oaks, California. Tweet comments @LALoyolan, or email

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