Just weeks after the tragic shooting in Tucson, the NC Community College system has given its constituent campuses the right to deny someone admission if they pose an “articulable, imminent and significant threat.” Jared Loughner, the mentally ill suspect in the Tucson shooting, attended community college.

The policy is already causing concern for its vagueness and for permitting individual campuses to determine what constitutes a “threat.”

The argument that this policy is a reaction to that shooting is weak. Loughner attended Pima Community college and had some run-ins with the police there, but the college and government became a source of his angst after the school kicked him out, which it already had the power to do. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute President Kenneth Boham said to the Watauga Democrat that “Usually, those things happen after they’ve entered into the student realm…”It’s not been a situation where a notorious individual has shown up on our doorstep.”

Community colleges in North Carolina already have codes of conduct like like this one that allow students to be removed for bad behavior, but this gives schools the authority to judge behavior beyond that agreement and before the student even gets in.

Please stay vigilant. Don’t be silent if you experience any form of discrimination based on this policy, or know someone who has.

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