Brian Brooks, an associate dean at the Missouri School of Journalism, stirred up controversy with journalism students today when he sent out a mass e-mail decrying students staying late in School of Journalism buildings and propping open locked doors in the evening.
Brooks said MU Police would begin patrolling the building and remove students who don't have authorized access to the building after hours.
The move resulted in a mostly online backlash from students questioning Brooks’ judgment. Some students joined a Facebook group that advocated a "study-in" in the journalism school to protest the policy.
Some concerns students shared were:
- That many students work long hours, especially during finals week, and a police presence would add to stress.
- That students pay tuition to use facilities that would be closed off to them after-hours.
- That many assignments are time sensitive, and regulating access to technology would interfere with deadlines.
I talked to Brooks today, who seemed annoyed by the accusations that his actions were not reasonable.
He said that any journalism student can obtain access to the facilities, and was irritated that professors were not passing along the information to students that would ensure their access. He said that any student could get their name on a list through their professor and could get their student ID card activated easily, which would allow them to open locked doors and avoid problems with police.
He said he is concerned for the safety of students because homeless people have been entering Reynolds Journalism Institute after hours through propped open doors. He also made clear that the rules to be enforced by police have been in effect for the past two years.
Brooks sent out a follow-up e-mail close to 7 p.m. to clarify his earlier statements. He explained the process to obtain access to the buildings, as mentioned above, and said that policing the buildings would probably not go into effect until summer session.
The "study-in" was called off because its creator found Brooks’ second e-mail satisfactory.