On Monday there was an active shooter event on the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina. Doctoral student Tailei Qi was taken into custody following the shooting and is facing charges of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm on educational property. Applied physical sciences professor Zijie Yan, Qi’s academic advisor, was found dead in the Caudill Labs on campus.
In the background of that distinctly American tragedy, the university is under fire for its response while the shooter was still at large. That’s because some law professors were still holding their classes — just over Zoom. Ed Kellermann, a 3L at the law school, went viral for his TikTok reporting from the library that showed classes continuing, despite the shooter.
He also called attention to the safety measures in place.
Confusion seems to have been the order of the day at the law school. Kellerman noted, “Some professors were asked multiple times to stop instruction and only stopped when official cancelation notices went out campus wide. Some professors – in the event that their class was actually going to be held in the future on the same day – opted to ask people to join on Zoom during an active shooter scenario. You need to follow the established protocol and the fact is, a lot of professors didn’t do that yesterday.”
A 1L also commented that their class “had to convince the prof to stop lecturing multiple times :/ was scary to feel like there was no protocol in place.” And Con Law professor Eric Muller said, “I’m so sorry you all had to deal with the chaotic response and lack of communication. Faculty were in the same position as students.”
The law school has not commented on the controversy, but it is clear they need to tighten up their protocols. Because, unfortunately, it is likely to come up again.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.