Maybe if you're at a big name university, the idea of making the national news is heartening or exciting. Maybe your Nobel laureate made a new discovery or got interviewed for something important. Or maybe your sportsball team won some big game. Or maybe a child genius finished their PhD at 12.
But if you're at a regional university, the chances of making the national news are low. And the chances for making the national news for something good are much, much lower. And so, it's no surprise that we didn't make the news for something good.
Every single day, students at regional universities do good stuff: they serve their communities, do mentored research, help people, learn stuff, act kindly towards others, write good papers.
But it's the few students who do something really obnoxious who make the news. And so, they made the news, but the dignified, beautiful response of other students didn't. Nor did the supportive faculty response.
The problems don't get easier. Not these days.
There's a national tone these days that makes certain sorts of obnoxious behavior seem condoned, heck, modeled, by certain people in power. And then students think that's a great way to behave. And it's not. Because down here on earth, if you threaten people, it's harmful. And students shouldn't feel scared to go to class or live in their dorm or apartment. And they certainly shouldn't worry that classmates are plotting ways to kill them.
I felt almost sorry for our headmaster because he's dealing with the obnoxious behaviors which he certainly doesn't condone. But he's also got to face the fact that nothing that's been done in the past 20+ years has taught students not to behave obnoxiously, and nothing he's tried to do in the past 5 or however many years has had that effect either. And now he needs to come up with ways to convince students not to behave in certain obnoxious ways, and he's got to do it on a super limited budget.
He proposed having students learn not to do obnoxious things from an on-line learning module. And a number of faculty folks basically told him, "no" and pointed out that there's actually a number of faculty members with expertise in these areas, and we need more of us, and more support, rather than paying for some crappy module. (It's good to know that I'm not the only one who hates the stupid modules we're "required" to do.)
And so, we have a few new things coming up, and a lot of decisions to be made, many of which will involve FERPA protections.
It was a disheartening, hard week here in the North Woods.