Monday, October 19, 2009

Threatening e-mails scare me.

One of the e-mails I referred to in the last post has led to a rapidly escalating situation. A student has sent me some nasty e-mails in a threatening tone. The threats were not physical, but I am still frightened.


  1. WTF?! Um, NO. That is so not acceptable. That's downright crazy! It doesn't matter that the threats weren't physical. I hope you've reported the student (or that you'll at the very least take some measures to protect yourself).

  2. Yep. It went straight to the Dean.

    Like I said before; let's see if the Dean is in my corner. God, I hope this is dealt with swiftly and decisively.

    On thing that's scary is that students know exactly where professors are for 2-3 hours every day, and we can't avoid them.

  3. Take it straight to the Dean (which you did), and let Security on campus know, too (even if the Dean already has) - ask for their advice. Our counseling center has good advice for faculty on working with students in "challenging" situations, if yours does, you might try consulting there as well.

    Been there, and yes, it's scary...hang in there!

  4. That student ought to be expelled. Unacceptable.

  5. I really hate "testing to see if Dean is in my corner" games. Sadly, many couldn't be bothered. You reporting a problem makes YOU *the* problem. *sigh*

    You also might want to get an Academic Integrity office involved to see if anything like your situation has happened with other profs, or to be the first to stick a record in their file.

    Print off your emails, lock them away.

    I had a row of football players once tell me "want us to rearrange that kid's face for you?" after a lovely student yelled a threat to me after turning tests back. I was so stunned I started shaking. I asked the football guys to write out statements that they witnessed the threat, and next day, I filed reports.

    Also, make an announcement to the class as a whole and if you don't have anything about violence on your syllabus, now's the time to make the changes. Tell them you will not tolerate threatening behavior, and tell them your syllabus is amended to include the consequences of violent actions (do not pass go, head directly to Dean's office, your ass is grass).
    Hang in there.