By Blake Neff
A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) asked her students to ignore the school’s active shooter situation Wednesday, telling them to leave cover, find a computer, and complete a final exam while the school was still on lockdown.
The incident was first reported by Campus Reform, which obtained emails sent by statistics professor Vivian Lew to her students Wednesday morning, shortly after the school went into a shooting lockdown.
“This is what I will do, you can take the exam anywhere today, not in Boelter,” Lew told her students in an email sent at 10:09 a.m., just 16 minutes after UCLA’s campus alert system ordered a lockdown due to a shooting situation. “Unfortunately, you need to take it between 11-11:50 Section 1A and 1 pm-1:50pm Section 1B. I am locked in my office now and cannot leave [because] my building is under lockdown.”
Lew then told students to “leave this area if you are in” and to try finding a computer in order to take the exam at 11:00. If that proved impossible, Lew generously offered to reschedule a students’ exam for 1:00.
An hour later, after some students had already taken the test, Lew sent another email finally canceling the test.
“Many of you are too stressed out to take it and I cannot reschedule it,” she wrote. “SO no exam today.” She said that students who had already completed the test could either cancel it or use it to increase their grade if they had performed well.
Lew later told Campus Reform that her first email was sent out due to a lack of information.
“I wasn’t aware at the time that some buildings had been locked down, my information was there was ‘police activity,’” she said. She said she wasn’t aware that any buildings were actively locked down, even though in her initial email she mentions the lockdown at her own building.
Lew wasn’t the only professor at UCLA to be dismissive of the lockdown. Student Lara Jhaveri told the Daily Bruin that she was mid-presentation when the school’s lockdown alerts began going out. The professor told Jhaveri and her partner to continue their presentation anyway.
“I had to continue a presentation while [an active shooter situation] was going on,” she said. “I was on the verge of tears.”
Another professor responded to the lockdown by closing the blinds on the classroom’s windows, but otherwise continued to lecture normally.