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Mizzou journalism school access for students

Huh. Apparently associate dean Brian Brooks e-mailed students today reminding them that access to the journalism school buildings is closed after hours, and that students working in the building after doors were locked would could be removed by MU police. Things got odd after that, especially on Twitter … but here’s Brian’s response. I’ll keep updating this post.

Faculty and Staff,

This is a reminder that we need to keep the buildings secured and locked
after hours. We have recently had HORRIBLE problems with homeless people
living in our buildings, rancid meat being left around the buildings and
similar problems.

There is a real safety issue here. I am not comfortable with students being
here all night under such circumstances. Recently, custodians have found
students sleeping in Smith Forum and in other places. Still others are
working in labs at 4 a.m. That probably would not be so bad if street people
were not also in the building.

I have sent students a note telling them that it is not acceptable to prop
open exterior doors. That’s exactly how homeless people and others who have
no business here enter the building in the first place. Still, it’s

At the same time, I fully realize that students are coming to labs and
working on final projects and the like. We can do two things to facilitate

1. We can give students in a class that needs access the ability to enter
the building with card swipe. We will do this ONLY if you give us a list of
the names and student numbers, and we will remove access at the end of
finals week for those students. A student whose ID card opens the doors is
obviously legit. If it doesn’t work, the MU Police have been asked to remove

2. We can extend the hours the exterior doors are open during the next two
weeks. We are happy to do that if that helps. But the ONLY door we will
leave open late is the one designated for that purpose between the Old
Sociology Building and the new building. Once in that door, you can go
anywhere. We DO NOT want to leave doors on Ninth Street open.

When I sent out the note, one student responded that the building was locked
one night last week at 6 p.m. Yes, it was. But what nobody had told him is
that CERTAIN doors are still open as long as the library is open. In
particular, the exterior door on the outside of RJI between the old
Sociology Building and the new building is open at all times the library is
open. The student told me he propped open the Ninth Street entrance so his
friends could come in. Wrong solution. Please let your students know which
exterior door is open late.

What we CANNOT tolerate is allowing students to prop open external doors.
That simply is unacceptable. This opens us to great liability if someone
were raped or otherwise harmed in our buildings. In particular, propping
open a Ninth Street door just invites outsiders into the building after
hours. If you see a door that is propped open, please correct the situation
at night and on weekends.

Please communicate this to your students.


Couple of quick thoughts:

1. Props to MU students for quickly organizing a “study-in” on Facebook. Reminds me of the 1960s. (OK, I wasn’t alive then, but a relative was working for the Dean of Students at the time and I’ve heard stories.)

2. Not sure the best thing to do is to be outraged via Twitter, but props to students also for e-mailing Dean Brooks their concerns.

3. I’ve known Dean Brooks for a long time, and I know that he’s always had students’ welfare as a main concern. Might have been better for him to structure his e-mail to students along the line of the one he sent to faculty (the one I quoted above). I’m afraid he’s going to take some heat for this that’s not entirely deserved.

4. Also, I think his e-mail to students was likely meant as a reminder of an existing policy, but that policy has been ignored for a long time (I pulled all-nighters in Lee Hills once or twice during the late 1990s). Also, we do give some students (I’m thinking of Vox editors) key access to LHH. (On that note, I changed “would” to “could” above b/c there are some students explictly granted access to the J-school).

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2 Responses

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  1. David Teeghman says

    Thanks for posting this email, Rob. This makes perfect sense, so I wish we had known all these facts about the decision before. I don’t regret my blog, because I think the discrepancy between the emails sent to faculty vs. the email sent to students is emblematic of a larger gap between administration and students. I posted this email on my blog as well, to clarify the earlier one. THANKS.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. The great lockout « linked to this post on April 30, 2010

    [...] students that they risked arrest if they were still in the buildings after hours.  He also sent an e-mail to the faculty explaining that students had been propping the building doors open after hours, practically [...]