Julie Schumacher's essay about her confrontation with a University of Minnesota creative writing student obsessed with violent imagery garnered more than 500 comments on a New York Times blog last week. Schumacher wrote,
The undergraduate who had been writing poems about killing people showed up for his appointment in my office carrying a black canvas backpack. He was slim and dark-haired, his mouth torqued into an uneasy smile. I had spoken several times about his violent ramblings to the campus police and to the university's office of mental health, and this was what they came up with: I should invite the student to my office and calmly begin a conversation with the following question: "Do you have a plan to harm yourself or anyone else?"
They didn't specify a course of action if the answer was yes.
Schumacher, a creative writing professor at the U of M, talks with Laura McCallum about her conversation with the student and her concern for the safety of other students and staff.