Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The Incident
It may interest you, O gentle reader, to learn that I have secured my escape from Thanksgiving. My elder brother is freaking out, trying to meet a deadline for a power-point presentation he's trying to create on my father's border-line archaic computer. My Greek exam is Monday, and therefore I rationalised that the environment in that house would not be conducive to study. I will stay here, and have a four-day weekend of leisure and exercise, scholas kai gymnos. Yes, it's true: the origin of our word for scholar comes from a Greek one which means leisure. I think it might have come about because back in the day, the only people who could go to school were aristocrats, i.e., people who didn't have to work for a living.
But the Incident. Something happened yesterday which gives me pause (from pauso, to stop). I wasn't manning the circulation desk but I was in and out, and got the scoop later from the guy who was. The assistant dean of student affairs came in. She very rarely ever does this, and when she does, it's trouble. I don't think she understands the basic concepts of a library. She had two library books which had been found in a restroom. She wanted to know to whom were they checked out. She thought it might involve some sort of violation of the honour code. I think she somehow conceived of the books' prescence in the bathroom indicating some plot to hoarde library materials away from other students. A.) A ridiculous notion; why would someone hoarde books in a public restroom when they can hoarde them at home? and B.) You can't really persecute a student for hoarding library books because the majority of the faculty do it.
Confidentiality of library records is guaranteed by ethics and North Carolina state law. The guy manning the circulation desk told the assisant dean these things, and then he went and got the head of the department. The department head had trouble understanding what the dean was talking about. She finally got through the convuluted babble about honor and blah, and realised the administrator just wanted the patron's name. The head repeated the same things about law and ethics that the other guy had already said, and the assistant dean asked, "Well, can I just look over your shoulder at the computer screen?" There are those out there, I'm sure, to whom this is not surprising, but to me, it's still shocking that someone who has a position running a law school could have so little regard for law. And ethics.
The department head said no, she could not look over her shoulder at the computer screen, but the assistant dean did it anyway.
I find it disturbing, that the assistant dean would violate the law, the honor code so to speak, of the larger society, to pursue an imaginary violation of that of the smaller.
And that reminds me, I haven't heard any more yet about the Nixon portrait.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

The holidays are a pain. Bah humbug, indeed. You have to travel and not to anywhere fun, either. It disrupts your schedule. It gives you a long weekend and then takes you away from your apartment which you need to stay in and clean. It closes the gym so you cannot swim laps. It coops you up with your relatives who unload on their problems on you, and you, being reasonably well-adjusted, have nothing to fight back with.
I might just skip the whole thing this year.