We have some disturbing news from California, where a first-year student at one of the best law schools in the country posted an alarming video to his Instagram account this weekend that seemed to be related to gun violence at the school.
The school in question is the UC Irvine School of Law. In the video, which was posted online this past Saturday, just one week after the mass shooting in Pittsburgh, the 1L can be seen loading a gun above highlighted pages from his casebooks with the caption, “Which one of you Californian nerds wants to learn about the 2A tomorrow?”
The video has since been deleted, but this incriminating screenshot remains:
Students were quick to send reports about the potential threat to the UCI Law administration, and Dean L. Song Richardson immediately responded as quickly as she could, sending this message to students around midnight:
The administration has received information about an alarming social media video posted by a student that showed a gun. The situation was immediately turned over to the UCI Police Department and they investigated the situation right away.
In an abundance of caution, a stay away order has been issued and the student will not be on campus tomorrow. Additionally, a uniformed officer from the UCI Police Department will be on campus at 7am. Classes will be held tomorrow and we are also attempting to set up virtual classrooms.
We appreciate the students who came forward to share this information. It allowed us to deal with the situation swiftly to ensure the safety of our students. We will provide an update as we can.
Your safety is our utmost concern. We are doing everything possible to create a secure environment. Please contact me if you have any comments or concerns.
Come Monday morning, many classes at UCI Law were canceled and police officers were stationed outside of the building to patrol the area in the event of any additional threats. Later that afternoon, students received the following message from Paul Cooper, interim chief of the UCI police department:
On Saturday evening, the UCI Police Department was made aware of a disturbing social-media post by one of our students. An investigation was opened immediately. UCIPD interviewed the individual who posted the information and an external professional threat assessor was engaged to help us determine risk to the campus.
Our officers and the threat assessor determined that there is no immediate danger to our students and the campus. Classes are continuing as scheduled. We have no information to suggest that students should not attend class or that campus activities should be adjusted. We will notify you as quickly as possible if the situation changes.
The investigation into this situation is continuing as we work to determine next steps. In the meantime, we have increased the presence of officers on campus today.
We encourage you to call the UCIPD at (949) 824-5223 if you have additional information or would like to report suspicious activity. We thank those who reported this situation to administration and the police. The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our utmost priority. We are doing everything possible to ensure a secure and comfortable environment for our campus community.
While it’s nice to know that the law student who posted the threatening message on Instagram poses “no immediate danger” to the rest of his classmates, students want to know what’s going to be done about his behavior. Towards the end of the day on Monday, Dean Richardson sent out the following message to concerned students:
It’s been a difficult day for all of us, and I thank you for your patience and understanding as we reviewed the information regarding the situation that arose this weekend.
As you saw from the UCI PD message earlier today, there is no reason to believe that there is immediate danger to our students and the campus. Classes will continue as scheduled. As students have requested, uniformed police presence at the Law School will continue throughout the week.
We are in communication with the student, who is cooperating with law enforcement.
We’ve reached out to UCI Law for comment on how long the stay away order will last, and what the school plans to do to ensure that future threats of gun violence on campus are dealt with swiftly. When we receive a response, we will post an update.
As for the first-year law student who posted this video on Instagram, if this was meant to be a joke, he must know that he’s effectively ruined his life over his poor sense of humor. This isn’t funny. Can you imagine having to explain this away during a character and fitness interview? This 1L gives law school gunners a bad name.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.