This is another one of those difficult posts, as it has to do with work, and with another group on campus. As always, I preface by saying the following:
- Administration at a school is hard
- Dealing with students is hard
- Students always take advantage of everything and will abuse the system until you stop them
I see and deal with this, too, and one should not read the following as a criticism without qualification. Really. These jobs are hard, between dealing with difficult students and even more difficult faculty. I know that.
A new building opened up on campus recently. One of the services implemented was a self-scheduling system for the whopping 29 (or so) small study rooms in the building. The problem is that the system is designed for highly-controlled environments or situations where groups, such as a team at a company looking to do a phone conference, need a space for a fixed amount of time and will then leave. The software system has no limits on the length of the reservation or how many rooms a user can book simultaneously. It even allows one user to delete the reservation of another if password-protection is not used. Several people acknowledge the flaws in the software.
However, the group of students that abused the system most severely – and it was BAD – was students at the School of Law. Where I work. I swear, every time I am even in the presence of someone talking about the rooms, reservation system, the building, or even the world in general, the fact that it was law students who abused the system comes up. The subtext is super-text. It’s above the surface, plain and obvious.
I just don’t get it. The way I see it is:
- Students have always and will always find and exploit every loophole you give them. I did it when I was a student. Why wouldn’t they do so? Seriously.
- If the system has a flaw, then it’s the system that has the flaw, not the students abusing it.
- If the law students hadn’t been the first to abuse it, then someone else would have. But perhaps that would not have been such a clear-cut population and not as targeted by the remarks.
- In reality, it’s probably just a handful of students abusing the system disproportionately
- Can’t we just get over it?
I was chatting with some colleagues at another university, where they work at the business school, which is also separate from the main university as our law school is. Their first response when I told even half of the story is that the law students were probably being blamed for all the problems. They’ve had it happen to them all the time. This notion that their students consider themselves ‘special’ and ‘above the law’ (no pun intended).