Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On further thought

I think the reason that campus shootings freak me out so much, and make me so angry ("How DARE this person come on to a campus and do that!") is that college campuses have long been my "safe" place - even when I was  a kid, occasionally going in to my dad's office with him, I always felt happy on a college campus. All those books! All those opportunities to learn! And as a basically nerdy shy kid, I got the sense that (in some departments at least) my type of personality would be valued, or at least valued to a greater degree than it was on the playground.

So I'm probably conflating PHYSICAL safety (which none of us has, really, when you think about it, anywhere) with EMOTIONAL safety, and I feel like that emotional safety is being robbed from me along with whatever sense of physical safety I had.

As I said before: I've had a few very angry students breathing fire over something or other in my office. Up to this point I've either been able to calm them down or diplomatically turf them, and nothing has resulted. But I do anticipate there may come a day on my campus where someone shows up unhinged and upset over some minor slight, and starts attacking. And I don't like thinking about the possibility of that.


We have a new custodian in my building. She stopped by and introduced herself.

Later on that morning, I was sitting in my office and I overheard her say to another custodian working with her: "This is going to be so different from the Administration building. Here, the people actually say "good morning" to you."

On the one hand, that's sad. On the other hand: good on the people in my department (and yes, I said "good morning" to her.)

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