By Anna Nelson • February 09, 2008•Legal Academia
Tracy McGaugh at Feminist Law Profs reviews a piece coauthored by Carol Parker, U. Tennessee-Knoxville College of Law: "Anger and Violence on Campus: Recommendations for Legal Educators." In the wake of the latest university shooting--at Northern Illinois U last week--Parker's recommendations feel especially timely. The article, which is publicly available on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), outlines predictors of violent behavior and policies for violence prevention. Most of the policies require enactment by school administrations--these aren't risks that profs can manage entirely on their own. The article, McGaugh explains,
touches on the almost-taboo topic of junior faculty members who have to choose whether they will press administration to take measures to keep professors safe or whether they will keep quiet so they don’t get labeled as a trouble-maker and hurt their chances of promotion. Choosing between livelihood and life is probably not a choice any of us thought we’d have to make.
[More after the jump]
Previously I worked as a public high school teacher. Some of the most rowdy and delinquent seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds, particularly young men, can be pretty intimidating to a young female educator. So I can easily believe the situation is similar (or worse) for junior female faculty teaching young men and women in law school. McGaugh confrms the suspicion:
I realized that every female law professor I know relatively well--except for one--has had a frightening experience with an unstable student. About half of the instances I’ve heard about involved administrations who seemed to have little, if any, knowledge of how to handle potentially volatile situations. This leaves law professors to their own devices in handling a situation that requires far more psychological expertise than most of us have, adding isolation to an already dicey situation.
Sounds like recommended reading for any woman (or man) working in legal academia. Pass it along to your school's administrators if you can.