Blog

Browse All Blog Topics

Teaching Assistant Arrested for Dramatic Delivery of Course Evaluations

Dec 11, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Everyone knows not to say "fire" in a crowded theater or "bomb" on an airplane. But what about saying "bomb" in a classroom? As a graduate teaching assistant at University of California-Davis learned last week, that might not be such a good idea either.

James Marchbanks, the teaching assistant in question, was arrested last week for making a terrorist threat, false imprisonment, and making a false bomb threat. Why? The graduate student referred to the course evaluations he was distributing to his introductory drama class as a bomb.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Marchbanks reportedly walked into class on the last day with his backpack on one shoulder and told the class, "I have a bomb, this is the last time I am ever going to see you. I am going to leave class before the bomb goes off but you are all going to stay here until it's done," then tossed a packet of course evaluations and pencils on the desk at the front of the class and ran out

The move was widely interpreted as a dramatic and lighthearted delivery of evaluation forms that he felt could potentially destroy his career. In fact, 13 students signed a letter to this effect. Unorthodox teaching methods, relaxed and informal attitudes, and extreme nervousness about their effectiveness as teachers are all pretty standard for graduate students, especially in the arts and humanities, so for many students in Marchbanks' Drama 10 class, his delivery of course evaluations probably seemed on the quirky end of ordinary.

However, a few students took his remarks seriously and decided to file a complaint, even when it became clear that he was alluding to the destructive power of negative evaluations, and not to a homemade explosive device. Campus police obtained a warrant for his arrest and a judge set bail at $150,000, a figure substantially higher than the Sacramento Bee calculated the charges should carry, and a price certainly well out of the reach of what a student receiving a graduate fellowship or assistantship could afford. It was eventually decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime and he was released, but only after he had spent four days in jail.

While few people are likely to argue that Marchbanks deserved jail time for his comments, it does raise questions about what's appropriate to say in a classroom. With multiple incidents of on-campus violence, including a graduate student's recent murder of a professor at the State University of New York-Binghamton, appearing in the media, many already stressed-out students may be more on edge than normal right now. Did students overreact?  Do graduate students need to be more aware of their actions in the classroom as new teachers?  What do you think?

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

Most Shared Articles

Prospective Rhode Island college students may score two years of free college with Governor Gina M. Raimondo's $30 million plan, Rhode Island's Promise. Beginning with the class of 2017, the plan would foot full tuition bills and mandatory fees, according to Inside Higher Ed.

In an effort to "knock down the financial barriers to obtaining a college degree," Gov. Raimondo's proposed [...]

0 months ago 0 comments Read More

College is supposed to be the best four years of your life. Or as one sociology professor claims: "a big four-year orgy." Was college always this fun? History may indicate otherwise, and Lisa Wade highlights a "demographic shift" 300 years ago that changed the college campus landscape and made colleges bastions of sex, booze, and entitlement.

U.S. colleges during the colonial era [...]

0 months ago 1 comments Read More

While you can always increase your chances at landing a scholarship - increasing your community service and extracurricular involvement, having good grades and writing strong essays - winning one isn't always guaranteed...or can it be? According to TIME Money, one way to secure a scholarship is to apply to, and attend a college that guarantees its incoming class free college money. Here [...]

0 months ago 5 comments Read More

A burglar who targeted college apartments in Cobb County is now in jail after Kayla Mesar, a freshman university wrestler threatened and scared him off campus property.

The identified suspect, Amir Williams had allegedly broken into several other college apartments near Life University before entering Mesar's unit through a back unit where her mother had stood. Mesar, who was around [...]

0 months ago 2 comments Read More

In hopes of boosting the local economy, Tennessee state education officials spent roughly $1 million this past year in advertising enticing college dropouts to finish what they started.

The state's partnership with Tennessee Reconnect is just one of several comeback programs established to combat the "nearly 37 million working adolescents nationwide [that] have some college credits [...]

1 months ago 1 comments Read More

College can be expensive, and while some may rely on scholarships, grants, loans or their parents to foot the bill, one Jacksonville woman got creative and sold her urine and positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist for a little extra cash.

Why would anyone ever purchase positive pregnancy tests or urine? The three-months pregnant woman, who chose to remain anonymous, didn't really [...]

1 months ago 3 comments Read More

Teenagers aren't using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco as much as they used to, according to a new national study. Substance use rates have declined significantly and are at their lowest since the 1990s. Despite this trend, researchers caution that there is still high use of marijuana for a certain age group.

The Monitoring the Future study, conducted by U-M's Institute for Social [...]

1 months ago 7 comments Read More

Rather than basically give you 23 birds for the first 7 of the 12 days of Christmas, we've compiled a holiday list of scholarships yule adore...with a head start too! Check out these scholarships that'll last a few days after you enjoy the holidays:

NATA Business Scholarship

[...]

1 months ago 3 comments Read More

The mantle of "College President" is one that includes a lot of responsibility and scrutiny, but for some in the higher ranks, the lucrative pay makes it worth it. According to data released by The Chronicle of Higher Education, some private-college presidents have made over $5.4 million in a single year.

The average annual salary for full-time college/university presidents in 2014 [...]

1 months ago 2 comments Read More