Education Law, AALS – San Diego

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. The theme is Campus Violence: Prevention, Response and Liability. The deadline is Sept. 1, 2008.

Submit an abstract of the paper to be presented to Robert Garda at rgarda[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.

THEME: 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.