A bit of follow-up on goings-on at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. First, in yesterday’s post, we predicted: “[E]xpect Dean Fitts to send out some vague email offering blanket reassurances, but declining to say more due to federal privacy law. That seems to be par for the course for these incidents.”
Our prediction has been vindicated:
Sent: Wed 3/5/2008 12:01 PM
To: [U. Penn. community]
Subject: A Message from Dean Fitts
To the Law School Community,
As you may know, there was increased Public Safety presence at the Law School for a few days. Like most institutions, the University varies security on campus in response to changing situations and often does so out of an extra sense of precaution. We usually do not discuss these measures publicly. In this case, we did not do so out of respect for the privacy of a member of our community. Let me assure you that there were never any threats made nor were there any “incidents” at Penn Law. Our decisions in this case, as in others, are made and evaluated constantly with the intent of serving the best interests of our community. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to stop by
Have a great spring break,
Second, check out comment #7 on the Daily Pennsylvanian article, posted today at 12:04 AM. It purports to be from the student in question (who identifies himself by name). This individual writes:
Unless there was yet another mishap by Penn or Penn Law, I am the student who was placed on this leave of absence. This is nothing more than a staged proceeding to force me to make precedent in the third circuit by tarnishing my reputation.
I am not on any psychiatric medication nor have I taken any. If the University actually believes that I pose a threat to your safety, then it should protect you by requiring me to seek mental health treatment instead of invoking this policy. I am now alone and upset and near a campus full of bright and happy students.
Very curious. We do wonder whether some law schools, out of an entirely legitimate concern for the safety of their students, overreact to reports of unusual behavior. History is full of examples of mass hysteria, from the Salem witch trials to the day care sex abuse scare, that turned out to be unfounded.
We’re not disputing the need for law school administrators to be vigilant, especially in light of the horrific school shootings of the past few years. And we completely understand their concern: if, God forbid, something were to happen on their campuses, they would be held responsible.
We’re just playing devil’s advocate and tossing out some fodder for discussion. That’s all.
Comments: Student prompts security increase [Daily Pennsylvanian]
Earlier: What’s Going on at Penn Law?