[Milton-L] Postscript

Charles Whitney whitney at unlv.nevada.edu
Thu Apr 19 12:07:42 EDT 2007


The suggestion in today's news is that there may have been a serious breakdown
in communication in the Cho case, a breakdown relating directly to the
authority of teachers in the classroom and to respect for the safety of college
students and personnel. At least one of the English teachers who expressed
concerns about Cho's behavior was told he had no record of abnormality.  He did
have, of course, and a judge had signed a commitment order.  Knowing that would
have made a big difference to many teachers, and even saying "we don't know his
background" sends a far different message from "there is no record of any
problem."  Teachers have not only a duty to report but a right to know,
precisely so we can exercise the informed judgment that is our duty in these
matters. I'm not pointing fingers but suggesting that maybe our rights in this
area aren't being acknowledged or respected enough in the academy today. Seems
to me I've heard the keeping of medical records and reporting is below par in
this country generally.
Charles Whitney
English Dept.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Quoting gilliaca at jmu.edu:

>
> " 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
> this tragedy."
>
> 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
> responsible.
>
> C
> 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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English Dept.
University of Nevada
Las Vegas, NV 89154-5011
Early Responses to Renaissance Drama
http://www.cambridge.org/us/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521858434


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