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UC students, officials show support for UCLA after campus tragedy

UC Irvine students held vigils Friday night to mourn the death of UCLA professor, William Klug in Wednesday’s murder-suicide at UCLA. (Courtesy of Caroline Nguyen)

By Ryan Leou

June 4, 2016 7:16 p.m.

University of California students, administration and leaders showed their support for UCLA after the murder-suicide Wednesday.

UC Riverside and UC Irvine students held vigils Friday night to mourn the death of mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, William Klug.

UC Riverside’s student government coordinated with the school’s administration to reserve a space for the vigil, help buy battery powered candles and send a campus-wide email informing students about the vigil.

Riverside mayor, Rusty Bailey and current student body president, Ashley Harano gave speeches at the vigil, said Julia Schemmer, a first-year public policy student at UC Riverside.

UC Riverside’s incoming external vice president, Oscar Loera Gonzalez, said he empathizes with UCLA because he remembers the San Bernardino shootings last December, which killed several UCR alumni.

“We understand the pain and we want to show support any way we can,” the third-year political science and public service student said. “It is important for all UC campuses to stand together in any tragedy.”

Students at UC Irvine also held a small vigil where attendees shared their thoughts and feelings about the shooting, according to a Facebook event page.

Kristine Jermakian, a fourth-year pharmaceutical sciences and gender and sexuality studies student at UCI, said staff members from the UC Irvine counseling center stressed the importance of healing.

“We wanted to show UCLA that we as a campus are there for them,” Jermakian said. “We wanted UCI students to also have the opportunity to express their feelings after this very frightening event and find a space to heal.”

Jermakian added the UCI vigil also discussed how prioritizing mental health may help prevent events like the murder-suicide.

“There (are) several conversations that we still need to have when it comes to mental health and student safety,” Jermakian added. “After this week, there needs to be a greater conversation to have about the system of education and how that impacts mental stability and stress on students.”

UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and UC Merced had official Facebook pages where students posted statuses supporting UCLA with the hashtag #WeAreOneUC.

Schemmer added she relied on the UC story on Snapchat to stay updated on the rapidly unfolding events at UCLA.

Snapchat videos showed police activity around the Engineering IV building and on Westwood Boulevard.

Users from different UC campuses also submitted videos to the UC snap story expressing sorrow and standing in solidarity with UCLA students.

UC leaders proposed solutions to problems they think exacerbated the confusion around Wednesday’s lockdown.

Student regent-designate Marcela Ramirez said she heard stories about students not getting BruinAlerts or professors administering exams after the shooting. She added she thinks UC chancellors should look into the effectiveness of emergency response systems and faculty training for emergency protocol.

“In a situation like Wednesday, the primary responsibility (of professors and students) should be to get to (a) safe place,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez added she thinks the UC should create graduate student-specific mental health services because graduate students are in a high-stress research environment and have different needs from undergraduate students.

UC President Janet Napolitano issued a written statement to mourn Klug.

“Such violence on our campuses and in our communities is intolerable,” Napolitano said in the statement. “In responding with courage and resilience, UCLA’s students, faculty and staff continue to demonstrate the strength of the UCLA community.”

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Ryan Leou | Assistant News Editor
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