UPDATE: I’ve put in a call to MCTC and the Minneapolis police to get an update on this case. Police Sgt. William Palmer said his files show no record of it, and college spokeswoman Dawn Skelly said she’s looking into it further. I’m curious under what conditions the student was able to take online classes and whether he’s allowed back on campus, such as to conduct any necessary face-to-face administrative business, buy books, etc.
The Jared Loughner shooting in Arizona reminds me of a small piece I did in October on an investigation into a failed nursing student who’d allegedly written a threatening letter to an official at Minneapolis Community & Technical College.
The two cases are obviously different, but the question — What can and should colleges do when faced with a menacing student? — could apply to both.
In this case, the college saw a direct threat and contacted police. Mental health — a key issue in the Loughner case — didn’t appear to be in question.
Here’s the story:
Officials at Minneapolis Community & Technical College are investigating a threatening e-mail that a failed student has sent to a faculty member in the nursing department.
College spokeswoman Dawn Skelly said that a student was unhappy over being asked to leave the program and sent a letter to the instructor, director of nursing, dean of nursing, the college’s director of legal affairs and the college president.
He threatened one of the administrators, and college officials have turned the e-mails over to the police.
No classes have been canceled, and Skelly said school officials have sent out no official notification.
“We didn’t have any reason to believe that the student body or employees in general were at risk,” she said.
The instructor however, has asked campus officials to post one of the college’s on-campus public safety officers outside of class and act as an escort to the parking lot.
Skelly said the college is not releasing the names of the student, instructor or threatened administrator, or identifying information.
“It’s a small department,” she said.
The student is no longer enrolled at the college, Skelly said, and has told school officials he is instead “attending a nursing program in another country.”
Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said he had no knowledge of the situation, but was looking into it.
The next day, Skelly called with an update:
I learned this morning that the student who sent the e-mails is currently enrolled in one MCTC online course, but not permitted on campus. It is not a nursing course. College officials do not know if he is in the country or not.