Friday, February 15, 2008

More on the NIU Shooter

As more information about the NIU shooter comes out, the case looks ever more confusing and disturbing. His name was Steven Kazmierczak. As an undergraduate at NIU, he was a double major in sociology and political science (my department). He also took a graduate course in the political science department as a graduate student in sociology. Although I did not have him as a student, some of my colleagues remember him as an "exceptional" student. He received a "Dean's Award" for his 3.86 GPA in sociology. He was admitted to my department's MPA program, but he decided to go to the University of Illinois for a social work program.

So he was a young man of some academic accomplishment.

We need to know much more, particularly about the reports that he was on psychiatric medications, and that he had recently become erratic after going off his meds. We might wonder whether he was paranoid schizophrenic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The responsibility of the professor in such a situation as this is difficult to define. However, I do beleive that each of us must define it.

Since the VA Tech shooting, I have set it in my mind that I must protect the students in the classroom. In each of my classrooms, I make sure the door is closed and locked from the inside. No one gets in without knocking and identifying who he or she is. I have thought of what I would say to the students or where in the room they should go if a shooting did occur. I am familiar with the evacuation plan of college and keep an attendance book to ensure that an accurate count can be made at the rally point.

As the classroom is under my control while lecturing, it is mine to control and protect in an emergency. I carry my cell phone always. I hope I never have to test my preparedness but, as the professor, I have a responsibility to be prepared to act when necessary.

One thing that must be emphasized is that each institution must do one thing. Install door locks that can be opened only from the inside! This may only delay the shooter but, 30 seconds may be enough time to get security to respond.

The Faculty must take responsibility for the safety of the students because if they are not safe neither are we.

Go Huskies.