Community Support & Recovery

Responding to the recent crises within our community

FAQs for Parents and Families

Last updated: November 15, 2018

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Why didn’t Cal Lutheran close given the traumatic circumstances and commuting challenges during the fires?

After much deliberation, Cal Lutheran decided to hold classes beginning Nov. 12 to allow for a sense of connection to others in our community and to help those who can and want to return heal from the experiences of the last week. While not every student or faculty member is able to return to campus, it is important that the university allows for this difficult process to begin. We know that “one size does not fit all” for students following tragedies. Some students crave a return to academic routines and the connection with others that comes when classes are in session. Other students need time away from classes and the space to process their emotions and to heal. Faculty members are making students’ transitions back to academic life as easy as possible. Faculty members are being flexible with deadlines and assignments and listening to students. The university is giving space to the entire campus community to be together and to reconnect with each other in their grief.

Why did other schools close but not Cal Lutheran?

Cal Lutheran classes were canceled due to the Borderline tragedy on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9, and the university was ultimately closed on Nov. 9 due to a concern about the Hill Fire even though the campus was never in an evacuation zone. Other area schools – K-12 and colleges – are in areas that were affected or threatened by fires, evacuations, or road closures or that have to be cleaned because of smoke, soot and ash. The main Cal Lutheran campus was never threatened by the wildfires.

Why did the students receive an alert regarding the threat at McAfee Apartments?

At approximately 9:53 pm on Nov. 12, the Thousand Oaks Police Department (TOPD) alerted the university about a person who was trying to harm himself with some kind of explosive materials in an apartment complex near Cal Lutheran. TOPD directed the university to go on lockdown. However, once they understood that the materials were not a threat to the campus and that the situation was not directed against Cal Lutheran or its people, the lockdown was lifted at 10:22 pm. Although the campus and students were not in danger, out of an abundance of caution some additional security was present on campus the next day.  Sheriff’s deputies have since apprehended the individual. 

How do I know that the facilities are safe after the fires?

Cal Lutheran facilities did not sustain any smoke, soot or ash on the interiors or exteriors of any campus buildings.

Was the campus ever in danger from the fires?

Conditions, which were monitored continuously, did not suggest either fire would reach the campus. University leaders were, and continue to be, in constant contact with fire officials. Evacuation orders were never issued for Cal Lutheran or the immediate surrounding areas.

How can I receive the same emergency alerts that my student receives?

Parents can receive emergency notification messages that the university sends to students. In order for you to receive alert messages, please ask your student to log into their “MyCLU” portal and click on the “CLU Alert” tab located on the tool bar on the left side of the screen. Then your student will need to enter your contact information, where and how you prefer to receive it, whether text message, email, or voicemail.

CLU Alert

What is/was the university’s evacuation plan for residential students?

In the event of an emergency, residential students are instructed to evacuate to designated locations outside of their residence hall to await further instruction. The residents practice this evacuation plan at the beginning of both Fall and Spring semesters during the mandatory fire drill. In the event that the campus must be evacuated, Cal Lutheran has several options for residential students and the course of action is determined based on the emergency circumstances. We have mutual aid agreements with California State University at Northridge and Pepperdine University. A second option is to utilize local evacuation shelters as directed by local emergency personnel. During an evacuation, the university would transport students without cars by shuttle, vans used for athletics, carpooling and buses. As an interim or emergency final response, we use Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center as a shelter.  The Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center is a concrete building with a very high level of sprinkler and life-safety systems. 

How many Cal Lutheran students were at Borderline Bar & Grill when the shooting occurred? 

The university is aware of approximately 30 Cal Lutheran students who were at Borderline when the tragedy occurred on the evening of Nov. 7. Cal Lutheran staff members continue to provide care and support for these students. Some of them sustained minor injuries.

What is being done to monitor air quality?

The air quality and other conditions are being monitored continuously through the aftermath of the fires. University leaders will notify the campus in the event of changes in air quality. The university will move outdoor activities inside, if the air quality deteriorates. To monitor the air quality, please visit this website. The numerical air quality levels and what measures to take are described at the end of that webpage.  

What counseling services are available to the students?

The university has onsite professional counselors and spiritual leaders who are available for all students. Samuelson Chapel is currently open on campus and staff are present to provide support and care. We also have the following offices to contact for support:

Who can I contact to get immediate support for my son/daughter?

During this difficult time, if you are concerned about the immediate well-being of your son/daughter, please call Campus Safety at 805-493-3911. 

My son/daughter missed classes because of emotional stress or a family evacuation. How will this affect his/her grade or requirements for assignments, exams, etc.?

Faculty members are making the students’ transitions back to classes as easy as possible. They know that not all students can be in class. Faculty are expected to be flexible with attendance, deadlines and assignments. If students have a concern or appeal about academic requirements in light of recent events, they can contact the Provost’s Office at

How are faculty being instructed to deal with the students’ academic and emotional needs?

Our faculty understand that this is a very stressful and traumatic time for the students and campus community. The faculty convened on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12 to learn about responding to trauma and to talk about students’ needs and ways to adapt their classroom lectures, assignments and deadlines.

Will the class cancellation days (11/8 and 11/9) be made up? Will holidays be affected?

The two days that classes were not held will not be made up. The holiday schedules will not be affected.

Why didn’t I receive a message more quickly after the Borderline shooting?

The incident did not happen on the Cal Lutheran campus and the campus was not in any danger during or after the violence that occurred at Borderline.

What is being done to protect Cal Lutheran campuses from shootings?

We cannot stress enough that the safety of our students is our number one priority. Cal Lutheran has regularly conducted drills and emergency exercises to prepare for campus shootings and other emergency situations.  We have “hardened” our facilities by installing electronic access control on all academic and residential buildings, installing interior door locks on most residential suite doors, and keeping all residence hall exterior doors continuously accessible only with a Cal Lutheran ID.  We also have had an emergency alert system that we have tested and used numerous times.  Finally, and most important, we have a very close relationship with the local sheriff department, and have hosted their drills on campus and worked closely with them with our drills and training.

What considerations have been made for commuter students during the fires?

Faculty have been flexible with attendance policies to deal with road closures and other issues related to the Hill and Woolsey Fires.

How do I make sure that Cal Lutheran knows if my student and our family has been affected by the fires?

A survey has been sent to all students to find out more about those who have been affected by the fires. Though the university has tried to make personal contact with as many students as possible, there are some students who have been affected by the fires that we do not know about yet. A survey is not our first choice, yet it will enable the university to see more quickly the needs of our students. The survey can be completed in 5 minutes or less. Please know that you can fill out the survey anytime in the weeks ahead. You can also send an email to to tell us what assistance you need or can give.

What can I do to help others?

Resources to Get Help or Give Help have been posted on the Cal Lutheran website. 

If I still have further questions, is there someone I can contact?

If you have additional questions, please send them to Alumni and Family Relations at