Tuesday, December 17, 2013
But the new threats are so different from the old ones that we’ll need an entirely new playbook to deal with them. When venues were scarce and rewards high, the issue at hand was putting parameters on how the gatekeepers operated. (That’s still true at the very most selective colleges, which is why they’re still fighting battles around affirmative action.) When venues have become plentiful and rewards scarce, though, the threats change. I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason that the Adler case attracted as much attention as it did is that it’s one of the rare cases in which most of us feel like we understand which side to take.
What I'm getting at is, perhaps 20 years from now people will look back at our current "new threats" and realize the correct answers are obvious, while we are now struggling with them.
By the way and as an aside, I agree that a situation where there are "best practices" to how to deal with a school shooting is not a good situation. At the same time, I'm skeptical of claims that the increase in the number of such shootings is all that greater than similar acts of violence in years past....so maybe "best practices" is a good idea here. Maybe this threat has always been around (or has been around longer than we suppose), and it's better to have a plan for it
Ditto for the conditions that would lead to an immediate dismissal from a tenured position (at your college compared and contrasted to the published policy at Boulder) with loss of retirement benefits (i.e. where the prof could not retire immediately instead of being fired after the school acts on the charges that have been made). At my CC, without a collective bargaining agreement, this case does not rise to that level even if it was held that prof violated a direct order that put student safety at risk. Actual criminal activity of a certain type has to proven in court before vested retirement benefits are affected (under state law).
Ditto-squared for the question of whether every class that has a student or TA participation element, including acting out roles, must be approved in advance by some college committee (such as the wholly inappropriate IRB claimed by the Dean in this story). There is no such policy at my college. The prof would have to be given and ignore a direct "cease and desist" order (like in this case) and could appeal that order to the Provost and President before it took effect on the grounds that the Dean did not review what was actually being done in class or interview all TAs involved.
The biggest problem at my college is that I have to go outside into the hall to "lockdown" my classroom. I have no idea what it would cost the college to fix this obvious flaw.
We had tornado drills and fire drills when I was in school, but I suspect that there have been more school shootings in the past 20 years than there have been schools hit by tornadoes while occupied by students.