Crime, Law Schools

As Admissions Standards Decline, Do Law Schools Need More Security?

Yesterday’s situation at Roger Williams University School of Law ended peacefully. Authorities report that a former student emailed threatening messages to certain faculty members at the school. The student, identified as 36-year-old Kevin Pacheco by WLNE-TV, barricaded himself in his home until police cut the power.

Police say that Pacheco had access to firearms — lots and lots of firearms — which is a whole different problem. But the increased police presence and community warnings seemed appropriate and timely given the situation.

Phew. But a tipster wonders if this is a sign of things to come…

A Roger Williams Law tipster has a sobering but thoughtful take on yesterday’s events:

The law student is rumored to be Kevin Pacheco, who was kicked out last year… No one really knows why he was kicked out, but some are saying it was because of his low GPA. It is actually kind of surprising this is the first time this has happened given the current economic climate, and especially in light of how low the school’s standards have gotten in terms of accepting students because of the decrease in enrollments – they predict less than half of the current first year class to pass the bar upon graduation.

We’ve talked before about how law schools need to do a better job of assessing mental health and providing options for their students and graduates. But we don’t live in a world where law schools are interested in spending more resources on student services. In fact, it’s just the opposite. We live in a world where law schools want to spend as little as possible while also letting in just about anybody who can scrawl their name on a FASFA application.

The Boston Globe reports that Pacheco enrolled in Roger Williams Law in the fall of 2012.

Law schools are not the best places to address the larger problems of mental health, but they can’t ignore them either. I don’t know if that means more security or more counseling or a different kind of scrutiny during the admissions process. But this doesn’t seem like a problem that is going away.

Dartmouth standoff end peacefully after man threatens local university [WLNE-TV]
Weapons cache found in home of former law student who allegedly threatened R.I. university [Boston Globe]

Earlier: Does Your Law School Need A Panic Button?

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