Saturday, February 7, 2009

Little Fascists II

I just read Xavier's post entitled, "The Sad Necessity of Anonymity." A school teacher in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, posts a picture of herself with a rifle on her Facebook page and gets suspended from teaching by the Superintendent of Schools, Donald Childs, for "bad judgement." Leaving aside the fact that the teacher was performing a LEGAL action AWAY from work, something that Superintendent Childs chooses to ignore, little fascists like him don't understand that they're on a slippery slope. Currently it's bad judgment to post pictures of yourself with firearms. When will it be having three glasses of wine instead of one? Or none? Or not recycling your glass and cans? Isn't that bad judgment, Donny?

Here at IUPUI we have the Behavioral Consultation Team. Headed by Jason Spratt, Assistant Dean of Students, and composed of people appointed by him, the purpose of the BCT is to
. . . assist faculty, staff, administrators, and students in addressing instances of behavior, which may not be appropriate for the IUPUI campus environment. Examples of such instances include, but are not limited to: behavior that appears to be dangerous or threatening to oneself or others; bizarre or strange behavior such as acting "out of touch" with reality; angry, hostile, or abusive behavior; or other behavior that is inappropriate, worrisome, or disruptive. In some cases, there may be no violation of campus rules, as such, but the behavior may evoke alarm or concern among involved persons.
The BCT has extended its mission to include staff and faculty behavior as well as that of students. And without consulting the Councils of those groups. I questioned Jason's boss, the Dean of Students Karen Whitney during a Q and A session at Staff Council, asking if they had "buy-in from the faculty" for extending the BCT's mission to address faculty behaviors. She told me that they hadn't because the BCT was a "risk management vehicle" and that ". . .so far no one has complained about it." (I've double-checked the recording of that session to make sure I've properly transcribed what was said.)

Now does anyone else see a problem with this? A committee that is apparently accountable to no-one? A mission to address "inappropriate, worrisome, or disruptive" behavior? Behavior that may not be in violation of campus rules much less state or federal law? I sure as hell do.


Tam said...

Yeah, the level of intrusiveness into the off-duty behavior of educators is appalling.

And corporate America seems to think it's an ideal worth striving for.

I'm hoping that the upcoming generation that has grown up with personal web pages will be more pragmatic about such things, but I'm probably spitting into the wind, there.

Anonymous said...

If they're wise, they'll restrict their efforts to students, adjuncts, contractors, and others similarly defenseless.

Although the resulting fireworks would be most amusing, should they try going after, say, somebody at the Law school. With tenure.

TW: "mitch"

Hey Mitch, where's my $45 million?