Professor tells students to ignore lockdown during shooting, go to exams

A statistics professor at UCLA asked her students to proceed to the exam hall last Wednesday, whilst the campus was on lockdown due to a man with a gun, who went on to kill his engineering professor.

Whilst the UCLA campus remained in lockdown as gunman Mainak Sarkar, 38, prowled around the campus with a semi-automatic gun, statistics professor Vivian Lew sent an email to her students, telling them to proceed to a computer in order to take their exams.

The email, posted to social media last Wednesday.


Vivian informed her students that she was locked in her office and couldn't leave the building due to the lockdown, but asked them to find the nearest computer in order to take their final exams.

Meanwhile Mainak Sarkar walked across the campus was being tracked by more than 200 armed police, after he shot and killed his professor William Klug. Elsewhere around the University of California, students barricaded themselves into classrooms in case the shooter came their way.

Engineering students had to figure out how to keep the doors shut without locks.

The lockdown ended after Mainak Sarkar turned the gun on himself, having killed his professor.

In a deleted blog post found by the Guardian, the Gunman wrote of his motivations for killing the engineering professor:

“William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor. He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy. He made me really sick. Your enemy is my enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust.”

“My name is Mainak Sarkar. I was this guy’s PhD student. We had personal differences. He cleverly stole all my code and gave it another student. He made me really sick.”

Colleagues and friends paid tribute to Professor Klug, father of two, describing him as a generous and dedicated person.

"Understanding and generous professor"

Vivian Lee, who sent the letter requesting they attend their exams, later sent emails telling her students that exams were cancelled.

She said she was acting on a lack of information when she sent the initial email. She told Campus Reform:

"I am thinking it was a 'teachable moment' for me. I've never encountered a situation like this before, I don't recall receiving any training about a shooter or a lockdown when we are not inside a classroom and I didn't have good information about the severity of the situation."

"I did not react in a wise way and now I am paying the penalty."

Professor Lee's follow-up email. She has been described as a kind and understanding by her students.

Melissa Platero, who shared the professor's initial email on Facebook, posted it under the caption:

"Fuck all the professors who are asking for students to finish their finals and assignments, regardless of whether or not they have cancelled class."

Connor Hennen, another student, defended the professor, which he thinks is out of character for the professor. He wrote that the initial email may have been "callous", "but I feel obligated to say that they are actually one of the most understanding and generous professors I've encountered at UCLA."

"As a professor she probably wasn't exposed to all the outlandish speculation that was floating around the student body and didn't realize how traumatized or scared many people might have felt."

Another student defended Vivian, saying that in high-stress situations like this, professors as well as students should be forgiven for their mistakes.

"Just like the STUDENT experience of this tragic event, the PROFESSOR experience is no different."

"During a situation of high stress, she came up with a solution she thought was adequate. Does this mean they are not allowed to make mistakes? Professors are just as HUMAN as students."

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