Kennesaw State University Adviser Placed On Leave After Posting of Confrontation With Student Over His Waiting To Speak With An Adviser

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 7.45.49 AMThere is a controversial case out of Georgia where academic adviser Abbey Dawson has been put on leave at Kennesaw State University after being videotaped telling an African-American student, Kevin Bruce, that his waiting in the lobby to see an academic adviser constitutes harassment and would be reported to the police.

It is not clear if there had been prior exchanges with Bruce but Dawson appears to be responding to the refusal of Bruce to follow the appointment procedures for speaking with academic advisers. I can understand that the office was irritated by someone who refused to follow procedures if appointments are required in every academic advising session. If the office had made it clear that it was against policy to see “walk in” students, the refusal to comply and come back with an appointment could be viewed as bizarre. For example, if someone insists on seeing a doctor without an appointment and refuses to leave the waiting room, a nurse could find the conduct to problematic.

However, it is not clear why this became a matter of harassment or possible threatening conduct since there is no sign of Bruce doing anything other than sitting in the lobby. African-Americans often raise concerns (with good cause in some cases) that black males are viewed as inherently threatening by whites in circumstances where the actual conduct is inconsequential or indistinguishable from whites. It is the escalation to the level of harassment and police referral that justifies a closer investigation. Accordingly, I think the university was right to pursue the matter with this investigation.

Bruce also posted an email exchange showing that Dawson and others on the faculty were being unhelpful when he was seeking academic advice. Obviously, there is more to be considered in context of this controversy, which is why an investigation is warranted without assuming anything negative toward either Bruce or Dawson.

81 thoughts on “Kennesaw State University Adviser Placed On Leave After Posting of Confrontation With Student Over His Waiting To Speak With An Adviser”

  1. The middle school photo was the visual clue as to the vapidity you’re dealing w/.

  2. I have no need to use vile language and I won’t ask that your comments get deleted. Clearly you are choosing to shutdown your own speech. I enjoyed this exchange, thanks.

  3. OK, that’s good Olly, I’m glad you’re not trying to shut down anyone’s speech by comparing what they have to say with Al Sharpton. As for vile things, I have NO idea what you are talking about. A good rule, don’t say vile things and maybe they won’t get deleted, it’s pretty straightforward. Time to end my participation in this discussion, before we say vile things to each other….😏

  4. Speaking of shutting down speech; I’ve never requested ONCE that any of the vile comments made to me or about me be deleted. Can you make the same claim?

  5. “you are close to trying to shut down speech”

    Well, when I’m ACTUALLY trying to shut down speech then get back to me.

  6. And Olly, you are close to trying to shut down speech, not very libertarian of you. Or do you even realize that’s what you’re trying to do? If not I, then plenty of others will question the reason for the advisor’s behavior. You can’t shut down everyone’s speech. There are far more than just I wondering what race had to do with it. Read the numerous comments on the articles about this incident.

  7. Olly, I didn’t ‘create’ the problem. It’s been in evidence in our society for quite some time and it’s not a stretch to wonder if it had something to do with the interaction between this advisor and this student. It’s a reasonable to wonder aloud about it. If it appears to be “dirt” to you well, yes, dirt happens in real life. In a libertarian utopia, maybe not so much.

  8. Sweep it under the rug? You’re a vacuum salesperson; you drag it from discussion to discussion, you throw the dirt on the clean floor and then demonstrate how to clean it up. That’s not solving a problem that creating a problem to make yourself appear you are solving it.

  9. Again, I’ve said several times now, that it’s not something I say happened with certainty. Putting if out there for consideration is just that, consider it, reject it, or accept it. There is no rule that says we may never discuss racism ever again. To react so strongly to even a suggestion of racism is questionable. Why react so strongly to it? White people exclaiming ‘how dare anyone even suggest it could be based on racism’ helps no one. Sweeping racism under the rug? I’ll challenge that.

    1. Olly – I agree with you. Inga is assuming facts not in evidence.

  10. And Olly,
    Your anger at the fact that I even brought it up is telling. Get cranky all you want, it’s a legitimate issue.

  11. Olly, putting it out there for consideration is different that saying it’s a certainty. We still get to discuss issues that continue to plague our society. That’s freedom of speech. It harms no one to discuss it. What is harmful is trying to ignore it still happens to this day.

  12. It’s a harmful assumption that is made to ensure this country remains divided on race. If you actually had an interest to improve race relations in this country you would have been better to err on the side of the facts first and then make an assumption this woman treats everyone this way.

    Obviously the Al Sharpton comparison was apropos.

  13. Olly, it’s not an unreasonable assumption. If there were no strong history of disparate treatment, especially down south, I wouldn’t have put it out there. And it’s not attributed to “everything you see”. We can’t simply never speak of racism ever again, we aren’t post racism in America yet, far from it.

  14. Annie,
    Why would you put that out there for consideration? You’re not doing actual victims of discrimination any favors by making everything you see “potential” discrimination.

  15. “Where’s all the angst/anger in the comments section here, coming from?”

    I have no idea Brett. I think that even considering it was his race that made her be rude to him is enough to upset certain people. But commenters seemed unduly upset even before I made my comment and posted that video. It’s like mentioning race is verboten.

  16. In an interview with Atlanta’s Fox affiliate WAGA, Bruce explained that he was trying to ask his exercise science department adviser a question and was told to come back in an hour when she would be available.
    Bruce said he decided to wait instead of leaving and coming back. He began to record the interaction based on a previous experience with Dawson, he said. <<< Why all the guesswork and theorizing? Things can be pretty simple. The Adviser could just be a power trippin piece of worthless employee. The Student didn't seem to be doing anything. He sounded calm/friendly? Where's all the angst/anger in the comments section here, coming from?

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