You’ve got to love it when a law professor turns up the snark on his own students. It happens often enough in class, but you don’t often see a professor doing it on a school-wide listserv.
Then again, you don’t often see students willfully piss off law professors this much. A professional responsibility professor has noted some very unprofessional behavior from the kids at his school, and he used the listserv to make his point with comic effect…
Here’s the message that Professor Kevin Oates at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University put on the law school listserv. It’s a very good hypo, and it really has all the information you need to assess the problem and come up with the right answer:
Here’s a hypo for you.
First, imagine you live in a world where buildings have emergency exit only doors that have alarms on them.
Second, imagine you go to law school in such a building.
Third, imagine the door has a sign above the push bar that reads in red letters
“EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS. DOOR CAN BE OPENED IN 15 SECONDS.”
Fourth, imagine your professors have offices above the door and that they can hear the alarm.
Here is the question.
When you encounter this hypothetical door do you:
A. Push the door, wait through 15 seconds of alarm while risking annoying your professors, and hope you get out and away without getting caught and disciplined by your Dean of Students?
B. Walk around to the front of the building and exit through a non-alarmed door?
Please answer in your head, then conduct yourself accordingly.
Mr. Oates, please step down and claim your prize. You win. Unless of course the students are using the emergency exits because they’ve realized their horrible mistake and are trying to flee law school as quickly as possible. Then… I have no concerns.
Oates is that rarest of law school professors who actually has practical lawyering experience. His bio says that he practiced at Cozen O’Connor and Gartner, Bloom & Greiper, for ten years. Something tells me that the people at his law firm weren’t opening the emergency exits to save themselves a minute.
Substantively, I couldn’t agree with Oates more. People who use emergency exits like regular doors are heathens unfit for polite society. In New York, you see this all the time getting off the subway. People who think their escape to topside is too important to wait to file through the turnstiles barge through the emergency gate like it’s the only way out. It’s super-annoying, and that’s when regular people are just trying to walk. I can’t imagine how rude it is to set off sirens in a building where people are trying to work and think and write.
Drexel Law students should be happy that Oates handled it like a law professor and not like “Crazy Joe” Louis Clark. Though it would be awesome if Oates started walking around with a bat in his hands looking for students who offend etiquette.