On Wednesday morning, three Las Vegas college professors got up and headed to work at Beam Hall, home of the University of Nevada’s business school. One supervised Japanese studies, another taught accounting, and a third managed information systems.
They were all massacred, gunned down by a disgruntled former professor who arrived on campus with a .9mm pistol, 150 rounds of ammunition, and a vendetta.
Their deaths in the United States latest high profile mass shooting sparked widespread calls Friday for gun control from educators across the country, a group many look to for answers in times of tragedy and distress. They demanded an end to the gun violence epidemic that has left college campuses particularly vulnerable to fatal attacks.
Irene Mulvey, president of the American Association of University Professors, a prominent group of professors, in a statement called gun violence an “unacceptable national threat” and urged gun policy reform.
“We mourn the most recent tragic and senseless violence and murder on a college campus,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We call on our elected leaders to move forward with actions that we know can begin to solve our gun violence epidemic in America.”
Her voice joined others calling for reform in the days after the Las Vegas shooting, which tore apart the campus and changed lives forever. Details about the shooting continued to emerge Friday, including the identity of the third teacher killed. Another faculty member was injured with life-threatening injuries. Police identified the suspect in the shooting as Anthony Polito, a former East Carolina University faculty member who had applied for a job at the University of Nevada and was rejected.
Here’s what we know so far:
Biden meets with UNLV students and community members
President Joe Biden on Friday mourned the victims of the deadly shooting at UNLV and again called on Congress to enact stronger gun safety measures.
Biden opened his remarks at an infrastructure event in Las Vegas by offering his prayers for the families of those killed in Wednesday’s shooting and praising law enforcement officers who risked their lives to respond to such tragedies. He noted that there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the United States this year.
“This is not normal and we can never allow it to become normal,” he said. “People have the right to feel safe, to be safe.”
Biden’s trip to Las Vegas was planned before Wednesday’s shooting, but while there he met privately with university students and community leaders. The meeting was held at a carpenter training center before his speech on infrastructure.
In his remarks, Biden said Congress should ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and enact other “common sense” gun safety measures.
“You know, the Second Amendment doesn’t say you can own any gun and own any gun,” he said.
Final exams, in-person classes canceled
UNLV President Keith Whitfield announced that in-person classes have been canceled for the remainder of 2023, along with final exams scheduled for next week.
“Given the physical and emotional trauma the university community has suffered, and because of the impact on campus facilities, we have decided that faculty and staff must continue working remotely through the end of the calendar year.” Whitfield said.
The president said the winter graduation ceremony, scheduled for Dec. 19-20, will still take place, after hearing students and their families express their “desire to join.”
“The historic moment of graduation is the most special day on the university calendar, and it is in difficult times like these that we can and should celebrate the fulfillment of our graduates’ academic dreams,” Whitfield said.
Naoko Takemaru supervised Japanese studies at UNLV
The Clark County Coroner’s Office on Friday identified the last person killed in the shooting as 69-year-old Naoko Takemaro. Takemaro lived in Las Vegas and was an associate professor at UNLV, teaching Japanese studies in Beam Hall, according to his staff page on the university website.
“Takemaru has taught all levels of Japanese language, conversation, composition, grammar, culture, and Japanese-English translation,” the university wrote. “He has also coordinated Japanese language programs at the university level. At UNLV, he oversees the entire Japanese studies program and teaches upper-level courses in Japanese language, culture, and business.”
Patricia Navarro Vélez taught accounting at UNLV
Patricia Navarro, 39, was an assistant professor of accounting at Beam Hall, she said. university staff page.
He earned his doctorate in accounting from the University of Central Florida, his master’s degree in accounting from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce campus.
Navarro investigated cybersecurity disclosures and assurances, disclosure of internal control weaknesses, and data analysis.
“He received the AICPA Minority Doctoral Student Scholarship and the KPMG Foundation Minority Doctoral Student Scholarship from 2014 to 2019,” the university wrote. “Dr. Navarro’s teaching interests are accounting information systems.”
Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang specialized in information systems
Cha Jan “Jerry” Chang, 64, has taught in the university’s Beam Hall, along with his two slain colleagues, within the management, entrepreneurship and technology department.
According to a resume on his personnel page, the business professor earned a Ph.D. and master’s degree in information systems management from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in science computing at Central Michigan University. and a bachelor’s degree in oceanography from National Taiwan Ocean University.
He has been a professor at UNLV since 2001, primarily teaching information systems management.
“My heart breaks for the families, friends and loved ones of Dr. Navarro and Dr. Chang, and for all the victims of this senseless act of violence that has physically and emotionally affected so many people,” said the president of UNLV Keith Whitfield said in a statement Thursday.
Teachers union urges US not to become numb to mass shootings
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers and staff in Nevada, said Americans “cannot become desensitized” to mass shootings just because “they happen so often.”
“Today we are in mourning; Tomorrow we will take action for common-sense gun reforms, including removing weapons of war from our streets and communities, enforcing background checks and safe storage laws, banning high-capacity magazines, and passing gun laws. protection against more extreme risks.” said in a statement.
The Nevada Faculty Alliance, the state’s teachers union, said no words can convey the “bewilderment and pain we feel for our colleagues.”
“Platitudes, thoughts and prayers cannot fix this,” the union said. said in a statement Thursday. “Violence is never an acceptable solution.”
Who is unemployed professor and gunman Anthony Polito?
The gunman identified by authorities as Anthony Polito, 67, had applied to several Nevada universities, including UNLV, and was rejected each time, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Kevin McMahill said. Polito also sent 22 letters to college professors across the country.
The sheriff also said Polito, 67, was in financial difficulty, as indicated by an eviction notice found taped to the front door of his apartment. The motive for his shooting is under investigation.
Polito was hired by East Carolina University in 2001 as an assistant professor in the business school’s marketing and supply chain management department. He resigned in January 2017 as a tenured associate professor, university spokeswoman Jeannine Manning Hutson told USA TODAY. Polito described himself online as “semi-retired.”
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