Eyes on pro­fes­sor’s class amid re­mark con­tro­versy

Two UNLV of­fi­cials present at les­son

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - #VEGASSTRONG: HOPE AND HEALING - By Natalie Bruzda Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Two UNLV ad­min­is­tra­tors at­tended Tessa Winkel­mann’s His­tory 407 class on Tues­day.

Their at­ten­dance came a few days af­ter Winkel­mann, an as­sis­tant his­tory pro­fes­sor, as­signed some of the blame for the Oct. 1 mass shoot­ing on the Strip to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“She said they were here in case there’s any­one in the class that needed to talk about it fur­ther,” said a stu­dent in her class, who wished to re­main anony­mous for fear of ret­ri­bu­tion. “No­body got up, but they waited out­side un­til the class was over.”

While Andy Kirk, chair­man of UNLV’S his­tory depart­ment, and Chris Heavey, dean of the col­lege of lib­eral arts, were present for her Tues­day class, the univer­sity has re­mained largely mum on the topic.

Winkel­mann told her class on Oct. 5 that she had pre­dicted “peo­ple will die” when Trump was elected pres­i­dent.

“Right when he got elected, I told my classes, three semesters ago, that some of us won’t be af­fected by this pres­i­dency, but oth­ers are go­ing to die,” she said in a video taken by a stu­dent and ob­tained by the Re­view-jour­nal. “Other peo­ple will die be­cause of this.”

The univer­sity called Winkel­mann’s re­marks “in­sen­si­tive” in a state­ment last week but has de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

A sec­ond UNLV stu­dent, who also wished to re­main anony­mous for fear of ret­ri­bu­tion, said Winkel­mann should have kept the com­ments out of the class­room but was more con­cerned with the chaos that en­sued af­ter she made them.

“It just seemed like the whole class was in chaos, and ev­ery­one was be­ing re­ally loud,” she said Thurs­day morn­ing. “I was re­ally un­com­fort­able.”

Joe Sanchez, a UNLV his­tory ma­jor, said the sit­u­a­tion in the class es­ca­lated, but he said Winkel­menn’s words “weren’t as bad as the video was try­ing to por­tray.”

“I walked out of that class­room not feel­ing of­fended at all,” he said.

Winkel­mann apol­o­gized Fri­day in an email to the Re­view-jour­nal but de­clined to speak to a re­porter out­side her class­room on Thurs­day morn­ing.

“This week has been very dif­fi­cult for mem­bers of our com­mu­nity, and we have al­lowed stu­dents space in our classes to dis­cuss how they have been af­fected and to openly con­vey their feel­ings,” she wrote. “I re­gret that my com­ments caused more pain dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time. Emo­tions were run­ning high and I wish I would have been more thought­ful in how I di­rected the con­ver­sa­tion.”

Heavey and Kirk also de­clined to com­ment Thurs­day.

A UNLV stu­dent said he be­lieves univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­peared to be “more up­set about the neg­a­tive press, and not about the con­tent of what she said.”

The stu­dent also took is­sue with Winkel­mann’s apol­ogy, which he said felt hol­low.

“She apol­o­gized for how stu­dents took it,” he said. “It’s con­de­scend­ing to a cer­tain de­gree.”

Con­tact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@re­viewjour­nal.com or 702-477-3897. Fol­low @ Natal­iebruzda on Twit­ter.

Tessa Winkel­mann

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