Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Like just about everyone, I've been following the Virginia Tech story. I follow it with particular interest, however, because I am a college administrator. That's what I do for a living, and in the days since September 11th and Hurricane Katrina, I have developed a strong interest in emergency preparedness, especially on college campuses.

I had anxiously been awaiting news of whether the gunman was a student, and it doesn't entirely surprise me that he was. Now I wonder if any details will come out about whether he had a history of mental distress. Mental health issues in college students is another interest of mine, a issue I deal with on a more regular basis than one would think.

Virginia Tech administrators are taking a lot of heat for waiting two hours to notify students of the first shooting. Honestly, I think everyone is jumping all over that unnecessarily. I can't say that 2 hours is a long period of time to collect facts and start notification. The details are still unclear, but it sounds like the administration had no reason to believe the first shooting was anything more than an isolated incident. And if I had to guess, they probably wanted as many facts as possible before sending an email that could possibly panic an entire campus.

What happened at Virginia Tech, could have happened anywhere, not just at a college. Even though they have a history of violence, you'd like to believe that all schools are sacred somehow, immune to the problems of the outside world.


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