Was I threatened by a student?

by laverite 49 Replies latest jw friends

  • laverite

    Well, the new semester has just started. As some of you know, I'm a college professor. I was in my large lecture course yesterday (a couple hundred students). After I introduced myself I provided an overview the syllabus (e.g. discussed grading, exams, course policies, etc.). I stressed that the course policies were firm, and that there's a "no late work policy" that is quite strict.

    A male student who was seated in the middle of the lecture hall (just slightly in on the right hand side) who had very dark hair and a medium-dark complexion (I couldn't discern the student's ethnicity) asked if I would still feel that way if I had a gun held to me and how I would answer then. I went on as if he had asked the most normal question in the world, reiterating that the course policies were firm.

    On my campus a few years ago we had a campus shooting involving a young guy who went around and shot a few people. I was on campus that day, and I was in the next building over. We were put on lock down during that time until cleared by security. That experience, along with campus shootings around the country AND the Arizona shootings that have been in the news lately, well...you can probably see why I am a little jumpy. Plus it's a large lecture course. I have no idea who his identity is. I wonder if I will recognize him in class tomorrow (out of the two hundred + who will be there, I can't always pick out faces).

    Either the student is either dangerous/unbalanced, OR socially inept jackass.

    So what do you think? Would you consider this a threat? I am emailing the dean and the head of campus security after posting this. Mainly I'm doing this to document what happened in case something more happens.

    Wish me luck tomorrow (and the rest of the semester). Oh, and for anyone who wants to scream at me for being racist for mentioning ethnicity and esp. a darker skin tone and hair color, I hope it's obvious why I have done that. I've mentioned the few attributes I know about him as I don't know his name, and I am just documenting...just in case.

    Because I have young children, I am much more jumpy than I used to be over these types of incidents.

    Again, wish me luck.

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    I don't blame you for being jumpy, especially when you have a family to look after.

    Nor do I think you were racist for describing him - it's no different to stating the age, or the physical size (fat, muscular, thin) or anything else. For now, that's the only way you could describe him.

    I think he was just trying to be a smartass.

    But, it wouldn't hurt to make an incident report just in case.

    Good luck!

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    I think you are doing the right thing by documenting his off the cuff statement . You just can't be to careful anymore.

  • crazyblondeb

    i hope u reported this to ur administration....and documented this!

    I wouldn't just let this go!

  • Desert Rat
    Desert Rat

    I think he was being a smart ass also, trying to look 'cocky' to those there. But I would also take it as a threat! With all the recent shooting events, there are some things you should just not say, even IF you are joking! Mentioning holding a gun to someone's head is one of those things! You are wise to document the incident with school authorities. Who knows what this guys past may look like?

  • laverite

    Thank you both of you for answering. I appreciate that you are saying this is probably an off the cuff statement/smart ass remark. That makes me feel a lot better. I think you are probably right. I'm just being very jumpy. But after posting this, I emailed the VPI/Provost/Dean/Head of Campus Security. It can't hurt to document. :)

    Edited to read: Thank you ALL for answering! This REALLY helps. BTW, I got an auto-reply from head of campus security "I"m out of the office until..." lol. Just when you need them!

  • palmtree67
    It can't hurt to document. :)


    Take care, friend.

  • laverite

    Thanks for the good wishes and flower Palmtree.

  • tenyearsafter

    Even if this was not a direct threat (though it certainly sounded like one), at the very least it is completely inappropriate behavior for a student in a learning environment. I believe it is sufficient to lead to his expulsion and ban from campus. I would definitely file a report with your campus police/security. His comments fall very close to being defined as a terrorist threat, which in California is a felony. I don't know what state you are in, but I would assume that most states laws would have a similar definition.

  • tenyearsafter

    Laverite...here is the definition of the crime of making terrorist threats...as you can see, it could easily fit this situation.

    "Any person who willfully threatened to commit a crime that will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on it's face and under the circumstances in which it is made is so unconditional and immediate that it causes the person to fear for their own safety or immediate family's safety."

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