Video has surfaced of a Purdue University professor seemingly making light of the school’s January 21st shooting.
The professor, Rebecca Trax, is heard joking about the shooting and ignoring requests from students to lock the door of her classroom. Nervous students asked Trax to stop lecturing and put on the news, but the professor didn’t seem interested. She made several eye-catching statements in the following moments.
“Ya'know, I think you’re better off in here,” Trax says in a casual tone at one point. “We’ll close the doors, if anyone comes in who wants to grab him? Go after him.”
When a student walks in late to class, Trax says "We don’t have to tackle Rod, we know him. So, make sure you weren't our electrical engineering shooter that came over."
After hearing a report of another shooting -- which is now known to be false but seemed legitimate at the time -- here was her response.
“What’s that, another shooting, physics? Ok you engineering students, what are they doing to you?”
Not exactly the serious and attentive tone you’d hope to hear from a teacher during a shooting. Here's the audio clip:
Sadly, it appears Trax wasn’t the only Purdue professor who failed to take the situation seriously. Student Bryce Shaffer says lecturer Alon Kantor made similarly dismissive remarks when students asked him to lock the door of his classroom.
“[He] told us we’re being typical Americans and hysterical for asking him to lock doors, and [continued] lecturing,” Shaffer reported.
Let’s just be glad – relatively speaking, of course – that the shooting ended up being an isolated event between two students. If shooter Cody Cousins had walked onto campus that day looking to harm more people, the lackadaisical attitude of these professors easily could have cost students their lives. As a Virginia Tech alum, I’m all too aware of how much worse this situation could have been.