Nov. 3: Worth noting that recent on-campus "incidents" (unreported here as of yet, but officially called "incidents," as in the benign-sounding "unusual incident report") have shown that there appears to be a serious problem regarding policy, practice and workplace safety.
In particular, some observe that the campus Student Code of Conduct combined with the Unusual Incident Reports protocol has limited effect when a student is unable to comprehend the policy. This is a catch-22 which bodes awful, leading in the very worst circumstance to one of those potentially tragic "we didn't see it coming…except we did" post-tragedy institutional mea culpas but with no real way, to be fair, to have done anything to fix it anyway.
Indeed, the ritual invocation of a policy and the filing of a report may create a dangerous sense of unjustified safety, when it is not frustrating everybody involved. Again, reciting a policy which a student doesn't understand (cannot understand) and filing a report (future evidence of nothing, finally, except inaction) amounts to building a thick file which will, after a tragically "unusual" incident cause everybody to shake their heads, scratch their heads and, uselessly, butt heads – institutional officials forced to defend themselves and victims still left defenseless or worse, lawsuits flyin' – with the problem still left unaddressed.
A quick consultation with colleagues at other institutions reveals a range of responses. Some schools are very proactive while others seem to struggle with situations that resemble ours. The wide range of practice suggests awareness of a problem. But it is not enough to be aware at this point.
One intrepid colleague suggests filing restraining orders and assault charges with outside agencies – thus going above the institution's head, so to speak, in order to ensure physical safety when the institution is unresponsive.
Others point to more vigorous enforcement of the MOU in their work contract as regards workplace safety.