gilliaca at jmu.edu
gilliaca at jmu.edu
Thu Apr 19 09:23:15 EDT 2007
" I very much liked Jim Rovira's proposition, that, if three
professors expressed concern about a student's behavior as
potentially dangerous to the welfare of others, the student
would--as the Blacksburg shooter had been in the past--be
referred for involuntary psychiatric evaluation."
Of course one of the saddest things is that the psychiatric
evaluation did not prevent his being released rather quickly.
I have no idea how difficult it would have been to have seen
just how very troubled he was - think about the two photos of
him released at once, and the very different affect in the
tapes and pictures he sent to NBC.
"... angry young men and women--this was the era of the
Vietnam War--but no one claimed the right to exercise that
anger and frustration, or take out our disgust with the ways
of the world, by slaughtering others"
Well, I was at U of Mich 1967 -1971. To prepare us to become
TAs, the English dept included a lecture on how to evacuate
the building if there was a bomb threat, how to respond to
your classroom being invaded for a teach-in,how to deal with
tear gas, etc. You see, that summer some very angry people
had blown up the a campus building at U of Wisconsin, killing
a couple of people in the procees, if I remember correctly.
"Had those in position to help him taken his maladjusted
behavior seriously enough to respond more meaningfully than
they apparently did, they might have been able to prevent
But they did.
"Students and teachers have a right to feel safe on their
campuses and in their classrooms--and we have the obligation
to do whatever we can to ensure that they are able to do so."
I totally agree. But I do not think that we can ever achieve
perfection in this. One thing I for sure hope results from
this is for colleges and universities to carefully examine
their contingency plans for 'the unthikable' and to look for
better ways to communicate in an emergency.
In this immediate area we have two small private
institutions: Bridgewater College and Eastern Mennonite
University. Both are - I think - totally residential for
their small undergrad student bodies. JMU is much larger,
and has a significant off-campus undergrad population housed
in big apartment complexes and smaller rental units in
residential areas near campus. Solutions that might work for
the smaller schools will not work for us.
I hope and trust that those with responsibility are ... being
Cynthia A. Gilliatt
English Department, JMU
JMU Safe Zones participant
"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston
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