When the Instructor’s Joke Truly Bombs

A drama instructor at the University of California at Davis was arrested last week and jailed for several days after some students thought he was going to set off a bomb in class, The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.

The instructor, a graduate student in the university’s theater and dance department who taught acting, referred to his students’ end-of-semester instructor evaluations as a “bomb” before throwing the papers on the floor and running out of the classroom, according to a statement issued by the campus police.

“I have a bomb, this is the last time I am ever going to see you,” said the instructor, James Marchbanks, according to the statement. “I am going to leave class before the bomb goes off, but you are all going to stay here until it’s done.”

One student subsequently reported what was considered a threat to the campus police, who said two other students corroborated the first student’s account of the incident.

Thirteen other students in the class, however, signed a letter in protest of the arrest, saying the instructor was making “a humorous correlation between the evaluations and the figurative bomb it was probably going to be for his teaching-assistant career.”

Mr. Marchbanks was released on Tuesday after prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with a crime, the Bee reported.It was not immediately clear what effect the melodrama would have on Mr. Marchbanks’s career at the university. —Simmi Aujla


Return to Top