Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, April 24, 2008

AALS Education Law Section Call for Papers – "Campus Violence: Prevention, Response, and Liability"

Call for Papers/Abstracts from the Education Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools

The 2009 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) will be held January 6-10 in San Diego, California.  The Education Law Section of the AALS will hold its annual meeting on January 8 and is soliciting papers to be presented at the meeting.


Submissions must be received by September 1, 2008.


Submit an abstract of the paper to be presented to Robert Garda at or to:

Robert Garda

Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law

7214 St. Charles Ave.

Campus Box 901

New Orleans, LA 70118


Papers will be selected by members of the Education Law Section of the AALS.  Authors will be notified of the selection results by October 1, 2008.  Authors whose papers are selected will present their work at the Education Law Section meeting held in San Diego on January 8.  The selected papers will be published in the Journal of College and University Law.


Campus Violence:  Prevention, Response and Liability

Over the past several years news headlines seem dominated by incidents of violence on college and university campuses.  Shootings at the Appalachian School of Law, Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois University raised public awareness of campus violence and elevated concerns about prevention, response and liability to the top of university and college administrators’ agendas.  While the grief and emotional toll of these tragedies on entire communities is recognized, the legal issues surrounding campus violence are not fully identified let alone understood.  Because perpetrators of campus violence are often afflicted with mental disabilities, uncertainties in mental health law, student privacy rights under federal and state law, involuntary commitment processes, and permissible interventions for students known to pose a danger inhibit proactive measures by administrators to prevent campus violence.  Further unknowns regarding gun rights on campus and legal obligations respecting bullying and peer harassment exacerbate the prevention problem.  Administrators and law enforcement agencies are also unsure what constitutes an appropriate response to violence once it begins and what measures must be instituted to reduce casualties and injuries.  The duties to warn students or take appropriate disciplinary and safety measures are opaque, leaving administrators to balance the rights of individual students against the safety of the student body with little guidance.  These issues impact colleges, universities, mental health providers, law enforcement officials, victims, victims’ families, law makers and other public officials.  Panelists will examine the complex and often conflicting legal duties with respect to prevention and response that leave college and university administrators uncertain about how to avert future violence and fearful of liability when faced with a student that may pose a risk of threat. (dbw)

April 24, 2008 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Law School Flu Season is here!

Excuse me if this post is a little loopy--law school flu season is here.  Law school flu season doesn't follow the same trajectory as the traditional flu season. In my experience, it is bimodal, and peaks in December and April/May, right around exam time.  I caught it early; my students don't start exams until next week. I expect to hear about fevers, chills, and stuffiness from my student right after they finish their last exam.  For 1L's, it feels strange to get so sick at this time of the year.  It coincides with allergy season on the East Coast, so they may mistake it for a fierce case of allergies.  However, allergies should not result in a fever.

Students (and professors) do no realize the toll stress takes on the body. The stress of preparing for exams, as well as creating or taking them, causes the immune system to go into overdrive. Students are living on adrenaline for the month prior to exams.  But overdrive has to stop, and after exams are over, our immune systems are beat, making us ripe for the first germs that come our way. 

While all the ordinary precautions should be taken; hand washing, hand sanitizer, keeping hydrated, overall cleanliness and hygiene, they are not enough to ward off law school flu.  Taking care of ourselves mentally and emotionally is difficult and time-consuming, so it feels like a luxury.  It's more efficient to take care of yourself now than to miss days of work with the flu.  Believe me, I know (as I type with a box of kleenex, a cup of hot tea, and theraflu at my side).

(Rebecca Flanagan)

April 23, 2008 in Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Last Week of Classes

It is the last week of classes here at Texas Tech School of Law.  3L students are counting down in minutes now. 2L students are anticipating summer jobs while still worrying about exams.  And, 1L students are surprised at how fast the semester went.

The 3L students have commented on how difficult it is to concentrate on this last set of exams.  Some have frankly told me that all they want is C grades.  3L students often state their stressors in terms beyond law school: chasing their outstanding job possibilities, planning for their move to a new job, finding housing in their new city, or worrying about the bar exam.

For these students, I often suggest that they become list makers.  By making task lists, they can see the progress that they have made on finalizing their plans as each task is crossed off the list.  For those stressed by decisions about which job to accept, which city to move to in hopes of a job, or which house is the best to buy, I talk about making tallies of the pros and cons for each option.  For those worried about their studying for the bar, I recommend Pass the Bar! by Denise Riebe and Michael Hunter Schwartz.  Once they have a plan of attack for these future concerns, I bring their attention back to planning for exam studying.

Despite their summer plans, the 2L students are very much still focused on this set of exams and doing well.  For many, they are struggling with "burn out" because they have worked part-time, participated in student organizations, been officers in some organizations, done pro bono work or other community activities, and taken some very hard required courses. 

I suggest that these students talk to their employers about shortening their hours or not working at all over the two weeks of exams.  Most employers understand that grades have to be a priority.  I also suggest that these students schedule adequate breaks into their studying so that they can avoid being too tired to concentrate.  Fortunately, most student organizations finished their end-of-the-year events last week.

The 1L students are often uncertain as to how they need to schedule their study time for this week and the two weeks of exams.  I have been working on study schedules with many of them.  In addition to group workshops where students build a schedule as we consider strategies, I work with students one-on-one as needed. 

I encourage them to think about each day as having 3 potential study segments: morning, afternoon, and evening.  I suggest alternative strategies for them to consider depending on their individual abilities to focus: one course per day; two courses per day; three courses per day.  I also suggest that they choose an option for studying this last week of classes: alternate days for courses in the order of the exams; begin with the course in which they feel least prepared and then add in the other courses.  Finally, we discuss the exam period itself and determine the days that need to be focused on one course and the days that need to be focused on two courses.  We also talk about breaks after each exam before they return to studying for the next exam.

The relief on students' faces once they have a plan of attack for their own stressors tells me that planning pays off in a big way.  Modifications may occur, but having an initial plan goes a long way to turning anxiety into action.  (Amy Jarmon)


April 22, 2008 in Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)