University Police received “no direct death threats” in regard to part-time anthropology lecturer Eric Canin following a Feb. 8 altercation between Canin and members of the CSUF College Republicans club.
“(Death threats have) to be very specific and the person that is making the statement has to have the ability to carry that out,” said University Police Capt. Scot Willey.
The rhetoric reported to the police was violent in nature and related to the altercation, Willey said. The altercation occurred on campus during a counter-protest to a march against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Canin was suspended following the incident.
A CSUF internal investigation found that “a campus employee struck a student,” said Chief University Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook in a Feb. 22 statement. Canin “categorically denies having struck anybody,” said California Faculty Association Fullerton Faculty Rights Chair Tyler McMillen Friday.
“Dr. Canin has been in poor health, and his condition has worsened since the incident of Feb. 8, 2017. He has received death threats and reported them to the police,” McMillen said.
Willey said the University Police department was forwarded five to six emails and one letter sent to the anthropology department related to the incident.
“They stopped (coming in) pretty much about a week ago. It was just the onslaught, the day or two right after the incident, that we got word of the emails and those reported to us and then it stopped. We have not heard anything since then,” Willey said.
The anthropology department has been contacted by people “as far away as New Jersey, who are unconnected with Cal State Fullerton” regarding the incident, said coordinator of the Cultural Anthropology Program Barbara Erickson, Ph.D. in an email.
“(These people) have felt compelled to write, mail, email and leave telephone messages that range from disturbing to violent to disgusting and to obscene,” Erickson said in an email.
Emails were sent to “random” people within the anthropology department, Willey said. Some senders appear to be “prolific posters” who copy and paste hateful rhetoric and anti-left sentiments on multiple sites, he said.
“We are looking at each one of them very closely to see if any of them meet any of the elements of the crime,” Willey said.
CSUF College Republicans President Chris Boyle, who pressed charges against Canin following the incident, said his club members have not contacted Canin since the incident occurred and are not associated with any violent rhetoric or threats he may have received.
“That is not how my students operate,” Boyle said. “We know that we are in the right and want to continue doing the right thing. If we were to go and do something criminal, illegal or immoral, it would degrade our standing … We are going through the proper channels and making sure the authorities are taking care of it.”
Boyle said he understands people getting upset over the situation because parents fear for the safety of their children. However, he said he does not condone people lashing out.
“I do not doubt his story that he has received threats and I think that is unfortunate, and I feel for him. Even if he attacked a student, he does not deserve strangers calling with death threats,” Boyle said.
Jason Rochlin contributed to this report.