By DANIELLE KOGAN
Students of Wagner College expressed relief on Thursday after the indefinite ban of 77-year-old Psychology professor Richard Brower, who allegedly threatened students with gun violence in a class on Tuesday afternoon.
Brower’s 25-year career was threatened when he allegedly told the media class he thought was “hideous” that
he “would shoot everyone in the head” and warned students that he was “locked and loaded.” Public Safety officers escorted the professor off Staten Island campus from the premises after several students reported the incident.
“It was a little weird hearing about a professor say those things to students,” said business student Matt McAnaney, “I know who that professor is. I feel safer. I mean, I never would have thought something like that would have happened at Wagner, especially being such a small kind of school, and everyone knows everyone. The things he said definitely wasn’t the right way to go about things. If you’re frustrated with a class, you should not express your feelings the way he did.”
The college administration weighed in.
“We were able to deal swiftly with this potential threat because students immediately came forward,” said a college statement. “Wagner College takes very seriously the safety and well-being of its students, faculty and staff. It takes all of us, working together, to keep Wagner College safe.”
The college is currently working with the New York Police Department to investigate the incident.
On a website where students can anonymously rate the teaching quality of professors known as ratemyprofessors.com,
Brower earned a cumulative rating of 2.7 out of 5 stars. The mixed reviews ranged from accounts of Brower being “disorganized and nasty” to “misunderstood and passionate.”
“I really don’t support what the teacher said,” said Biology student Aldin Sula, “It was very out of line. And it does put fear into some students because this is a very peaceful campus, and we wouldn’t expect something like that. I never had him, but now that I’ve seen what his mindset was, I feel safe that he isn’t here right now. This is a really peaceful campus. That’s really the craziest thing I’ve ever witnessed here.”
“I think that we’re living in a world where we’re very nervous about students with guns,” said an English department faculty member, who requested anonymity for fear of losing his job, “and now we have a professor talking about shooting people. I’m not surprised in terms of the emotion about being frustrated with a classroom. Sometimes that happens, you get frustrated with your students. I don’t understand that emotion manifest in itself into violence.”
Brower and the police did not reply to requests for comment.