Wasn’t I just here? Yes, I was.
Saucy Scholar fans may remember my inaugural post was on the UC Santa Barbara shooting. I was teaching at UCSB, and I had also been a grad student there for five years prior. It was my first campus shooting. It was intense and traumatic to the campus community. It was shocking. It was unexpected. I immediately contacted my students to ask if they were safe and ok.
UCSB held a memorial service at the outdoor soccer stadium. Probably 25,000 people were there. As I was heading to the memorial, I saw a friend sitting at the campus bus stop, waiting to go home. I asked why he wasn’t going to the memorial. He said: “this is not my first campus shooting.” I remembered he was from Virginia Tech.
This morning I have been contacted by many people asking if I am safe and ok. You see, there was a shooting on my campus. The one I currently teach at. Like my friend, I can also now say this is not my first.
Lots of public figures are sending their love and their thoughts and their prayers. I don’t want that. I want outrage. I want shock. I want action. But we don’t do that anymore for campus shootings. They are upsetting but normal. School shootings are no longer aberrations. And they should no longer be unexpected by me.
This is now part of the life of the academic. This must now be part of the pedagogy of professors. In addition to job market advice and tenure advice, can The Chronicle and The Professor Is In start writing advice columns on ways faculty can deal with this?
This is how I ended that first post, the one on the UCSB shooting:
“I honestly don’t know how to end this. So I won’t. Because this is a conversation I’m going to have to have in every fucking class I teach from now on at UCSB. And it’s going to have to constantly evolve.”