Friday, January 08, 2010

All In a Day's Work

Yesterday something happened that I knew would eventually occur, just a matter of time. A crazy student showed up wanting to meet with me unannounced.

I've met with plenty a displeased student. In the course of my career, there are students who are angry with me for one reason or another. That's fine, I don't worry about those too much and if they want to meet with me, well, sure, why not.

It's the crazy ones that worry me. Sometimes that's a fine line, the crazy vs. the angry. But it's worst when the student is both.

I evicted this particular student 4 years ago. On paper, it was because she engaged in disruptive behavior that negatively impacted the community. In reality, she's the only student I've ever tried to get involuntarily committed. It was not pretty.

So 4 years pass without a word from here and suddenly here she is wanting to see me. Pronto. Thankfully, I happened to be on the phone and I have a wonderful staff who ran some interference. There are very few people who I will not meet with. There are very few people who make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But she falls into both camps. I made some calls after that. I'm fortunate that some of my closest allies on-campus are the Security Director and Legal Counsel. These are excellent people to have in your corner. The student is now restricted from campus.

This student never threatened me. She has displayed no propensity towards violence. I have no real reason to believe she wanted to do anything other than speak to me. Although, after 4 years, a disgruntled person showing up to speak with you is rarely good news. I told my lawyer friend, when he asked why I didn't have him pulled out meeting for this "emergency", that I figured I was probably blowing the whole situation out of portion. His response, "We don't have the luxury of making that assumption anymore."

Campus violence is on the rise. Everyone remembers Virginia Tech, but there are dozens and dozens of others that didn't get as much press. Then there was this, which involved students I know and level of violence that no one wanted to believe could happen.

I feel like if I ever have to write a dissertation, I think it's going to involve the increasing danger on college campuses.

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