Students report Zoombombing, but no officially reported incidents

Anneliese Esparza, A&E Editor

Amid the meteoric rise of Zoom in the wake of COVID-19, several universities around the country have experienced security problems on the platform. Such security breaches are nicknamed Zoombombing and can take various forms, such as displays of obscene content, vitriolic remarks or disruptive behavior.

While Associate Vice President for Communications Margaret Chantung said that there have been no reported incidents of Zoombombing in CSUSM classes, there is evidence that some incidents have occurred without being reported.

On Facebook, CSUSM student Caleb Standley said that someone had disrupted his History 102 class by repeatedly moaning. The professor of that class, Zhiwei Xiao, said that he received an email from Standley mentioning the incident.

However, Xiao himself was not aware of the disruption. “On my end, I was totally, totally, unaware. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t notice anything,” said Xiao, who said that he has never taught an online class before.

“When I was teaching the class online, I was just staring at my lecture notes, I was using the share screen function to share with my students, so I was so involved with my notes I didn’t notice anything happening outside of my document,” said Xiao.

“Then when [the student] told me about it, I was surprised, but I didn’t know what to do. Besides, he told me about it afterwards,” said Xiao.

Also on Facebook, a different CSUSM student said that people screamed racist and rude comments in one of his classes. The student did not respond to a request for additional details.

According to Chantung, where to report an incident of Zoombombing would depend on the type of harassment. Classroom misconduct such as disruptive behavior and bullying can be reported to the Dean of Students Office.

Harassment based on bias could be reported to the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Inclusive Excellence, while harassment related to Title IX (discrimination on the basis of sex) can be reported to the Office of Title IX.

For information on actions you can take to make Zoom meetings more secure, visit csusm.edu/security/training/securing-zoom.html.