Friday, April 30, 2010

Nerd War Emails

From: Brian Brooks
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2010 10:53:07 -0500
To: Undergraduate Students
Subject: Building Security


We've had some serious security problems in the Journalism buildings recently. Two things you need to know:

1. Propping open exterior doors to the Journalism complex is illegal and can lead to charges being filed against you for illegal entry. When the building is locked, that means all facilities are closed.

2. It has been called to my attention that the custodians have found people sleeping and/or working in the building when they arrive in the early morning. This is prohibited when the exterior doors are locked. If you propped open an external door or entered through one propped open, that does not excuse the fact that you are in the building illegally.

Effective immediately, MU Police will begin patrolling the complex to ensure compliance.

Thanks for your help in protecting our facilities and equipment.


Dean Brooks:

The School of Journalism requires an extreme time commitment from students. The School of Journalism also requires students to use advanced software to complete assignments. Very few students, despite the "requirement" to own Mac laptops, actually can afford the full Adobe creative suite, audio editing software, and the video editing software needed to work on multimedia. Journalism assignments are, by nature, on deadline and time-sensitive.

Your belated revelation that students work late into the night in School of Journalism computer labs is not exactly news. And your reaction, to have MU Police patrol the buildings, is overkill. Students who want to work into the wee hours of the morning are not criminals--we pay tuition to use these facilities! If anything, you should be expanding hours so students can utilize the millions of dollars of computer equipment in a more time-effiecient manner. If you are going to be allocating MU Police to patrol Journalism buildings, perhaps the facilities should remain officially open.

Finals are coming up within the week, and adding the threat of confrontation with MU Police to an already stressful time is downright irresponsible.

In my six years with the School of Journalism, I have rarely been so annoyed. I have spent more nights, apparently trespassing illegally, working in computer labs than I care to count. This kind of time commitment and dedication is required for success in this school. Your policy is completely out-of-touch with the 24/7 work culture the School of Journalism has created.

Erin K. O'Neill
Bachelor of Journalism 2008
Master of Arts in Journalism 2010



Just what signal does a closed and locked building send to you. That it’s OK to enter? Would you do that at City Hall? At the State Capitol?

Do you know that homeless people are regularly entering and sleeping in our buildings because the students leave the doors propped open? Do you consider that good for your safety?

Do you know that your instructor can put you on a list of students to be given card-swipe access to the building that would solve this problem?

I suggest you start checking a few facts before sending impertinent emails about which you obviously know nothing.




I am not disputing the danger of propped-open doors. I do not prop open doors of the labs at night, and since I am a graduate teaching assistant, I have entry keys. Your policy has a loophole 100 miles wide. What about the majority of students, who enter buildings before the doors lock and stay late to work?

You are penalizing hard-working students. You are inflaming already-stressed students: final exams start in a week.

You wrote: "It has been called to my attention that the custodians have found people sleeping and/or working in the building when they arrive in the early morning. This is prohibited when the exterior doors are locked." You essentially threatened any student found in the buildings after hours with charges of illegal entry.

It is obvious that you have no idea what kind of culture the School of Journalism fosters among students. I think you should reconsider your stance on this issue.

Erin K. O'Neill



It has come to my attention that absolutely nobody understands the almost-two-year-old policy about access to Journalism buildings. You need to know this:

ANY student who has legitimate need to access the buildings is welcome to stay all night long in a semi-protected environment. To get access, here's how to do it: Ask your instructor to give your name and student number to my assistant, Pat Cloyd. A list of the whole class will suffice. Pat will immediately provide access in the computer. Then, you will need to visit the Key Shop at the Conley Avenue Garage to have your student ID activated.

Once that is done, you can enter the Journalism complex at any time of the day or night by simply swiping your ID card at one of three access points: The door between the old Sociology Building and the new RJI building, the door in the parking lot of Neff Annex or the door into the Fisher Auditorium lobby of Gannett Hall (Circle Drive side).

It has come to my attention that instructors have not informed students of this necessary procedure, which has been in effect since the new building opened. Our intent is NOT to prevent student access but to ensure their safety and the security of our buildings and equipment. In fact, not one single instructor has asked us to provide access to students, although all were notified about this repeatedly.

It is absolutely dangerous for someone to be in our buildings at 3 a.m. when doors are propped open allowing access to anyone. That's not safe for you, and it's not a secure option for our rooms and equipment.

So PLEASE understand that restricting your access is NOT the objective. The objective is to protect you, the buildings and our equipment. We just need to go through the proper procedures to make that happen.

I am sorry that you were not informed about this by your instructor(s). That should have happened. Because it did not happen, and because I did not know that, you got my earlier message today.

As a result, as soon as possible we will inform the MU PD to delay removal procedures until summer school begins. (I cannot guarantee that this message will be conveyed to the entire MUPD this weekend, but I will try to make that happen.) It is NOT our intent to inhibit your ability to do the work you need to do. We want you to be able to finish your final projects in the best way possible. In the meantime, please cooperate with us and do not leave doors propped open.