On this picture, you can see the building where my office is located. At this moment, it doesn’t look nearly as pretty as it does on the photo because we are undergoing major construction but you get the general idea.
You can see that there are balconies on the second and the third floor. Some professors (usually the ones who have been employed by the university the longest and have tenure) have a window and a door that leads to the balconies in their office.
The tenure-track faculty have windowless offices, which I think is fair because, like everything in life, a window has to be deserved.
The funny thing, though, is that the university refuses to give professors and even administrators the keys to the balcony doors located in their own offices. You have a balcony but you can’t use it. You can’t open the door and let some fresh air in, can’t go outside and walk on the balcony, or sit in the sun between classes. What the purpose of the balcony doors that nobody can access is remains a mystery.
Understandably, colleagues with balconied offices are upset. One has even threatened to pick the lock and gain access to the balcony that way. (This is precisely what I would have done in this situation.)
The university explained that the reason why professors and administrators are being denied keys to their balcony doors is that the school is watching out for their safety. I don’t know about you, but I find this explanation to be very offensive. Our tenured professors are highly educated, intellectual, reasonable people. They have traveled the world and manage to handle themselves well both at home and abroad. They get up in the morning, dress themselves, and go to work. They even remember to brush their teeth and wash their hair at regular intervals without anybody watching over them. I’m quite certain they can be trusted to walk out onto a balcony safely.
Seriously, what’s with the insulting babying of adults?