[Milton-L] Student referrals

Carmela McIntire carmelamcintire at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 18 15:34:32 EDT 2007


Honestly, I don't believe that there is much danger of
nonconformist or apparently eccentric students being
singled out in this way. The information about the VT
student is that he stalked female students and turned
in writing assignments to two professors that were
extremely disturbing. He didn't speak to his roommates
at all. His creative writing professors alerted others
to the nature of his writings.

I have been thinking for the past couple of days about
what wonderful places campuses are--full of energy and
in my experience, a great deal of tolerance for
diversity of all sorts, including behaviors. 

I have met seriously disturbed students in my 25 years
here at FIU, in Miami. It was certainly possible to
see that they were ill in some way, that they were
acutely uncomfortable with others and with themselves
in ways that were far out of the norm. I have referred
such students to counseling; I have gotten
confidential advice about them; in one case I asked
for a plainclothes policeman to hover near my
classroom after a student threatened me (she was
definitely not OK, not particularly coherent, etc.).

I am deeply sorry for people who struggle this way. I
know a little bit about how intractable some forms of
mental illness are. So I have no suggestions to make,
just that, as another writer on the list has already
said, the VT student was quite likely in terrible,
isolating pain. And his mode of suicide seems to
reflect that, as well as, perhaps, self-hatred. No
expertise here from me, just reflection.

Carmela McIntire




--- Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
wrote:

> All day yesterday, I was thinking about the same
> point raised by Alan.
>    
>   I recall being something of a 'loner' as a young
> man in university -- keeping to myself a lot and
> feeling alienated from fellow students as I
> underwent my 'existential encounter with
> nothingness' for a couple of years.
>    
>   So ... did I need counseling, or more philosophy?
>    
>   I'd be averse to seeing this sort of intellectual
> crisis treated as pathological when it's actually,
> often, a sign of significant intellectual growth.
>    
>   Suppose that I had been 'noticed' and referred for
> counseling. I'll bet that I would have been
> resentful at the implication that I was 'troubled'
> and would have grown even more sullen -- which
> likely would have resulted in a psychological
> evaluation that I required further 'treatment.'
>    
>   I foresee a Teufelskreis of eccentric, epicyclic
> complexity that, once a student were spun into it by
> administrative machinery, would be exceedingly
> difficult to escape without the student fully
> accepting the 'diagnosis', willingly submitting to
> the 'treatment', and gratefully acknowledging the
> 'cure'.
>    
>   "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."
>    
>   Or blacklisted as a threat, as Alan wonders?
> Similarly to Alan, I worry that, in attempting to
> prevent a future Viginia Tech, we could do more harm
> than good.
>    
>   Jeffery Hodges
> 
> alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:
>   " . . . how many more 'copycats' can we afford to
> expose our young people to?"
> 
> What about "our" unstable, disturbed young people,
> and all who might
> at some point in their lives be considered as such
> by teachers and
> counselors of varying levels of competence and
> fair-mindedness,
> 99.9999999% of whom pose no threat to anyone? Are
> they to be
> blacklisted from school and employment?
> 
> Alan H.
> 
> University Degrees:
> 
> Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
> (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's
> Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
> M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
> B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor
> University
> 
> Email Address:
> 
> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
> 
> Blog:
> 
> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
> 
> Office Address:
> 
> Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
> School of English, Kyung Hee University
> 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
> Seoul, 130-701
> South Korea
> 
> Home Address:
> 
> Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
> Sangbong-dong 1
> Jungnang-gu
> Seoul 131-771
> South Korea>
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