"That led to a mad dash, grabbing bags to get people out of here," Beaupre said.
Beaupre spoke by telephone to The Associated Press while driving in his car and trying to maneuver through heavy traffic. He described a half dozen police cars around campus and a sheriff's helicopter circling overhead.
"Apparently we can get people out of the buildings, but getting traffic away from campus is not easy," Beaupre said.
Two high schools also share Cal State LA's campus, and Beaupre said about 60 students could be seen milling around on a street corner after the evacuation.
Beaupre estimated that the evacuation involved about 8,000 students.
A bomb squad also was sent to the University of Southern California on Thursday after a report of a suspicious package.
Earlier in the day, two community colleges — Cabrillo College in Aptos and College of the Redwoods in Eureka — were partially evacuated after a suspicious package was found at the first and a threat against the second was made online. In both of those cases, searches did not reveal anything out of the ordinary.