Monday, April 23, 2007

Special Report: Crisis On Campus

A Death Cry For Tighter Security On College Campuses
By Lindsay Cooper

Monday’s tragic events at Virginia Tech University have exposed the lack of educational commitment to efficient security means in protecting students on college campuses throughout the U.S.

University President Charles Steger and Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall answered questions at Monday’s press conference and said hat many of the classroom buildings were pretty much open to the public. They also told reporters that there was no type of identification needed to enter the buildings during the day. The fact that many of the students were alerted two hours after the initial shooting is also quite alarming.

As a college student myself, this is deeply disturbing to hear. At this stage in our development we are committing our entire lives and finances to an enriching education that promises intellectual, independent, and social growth. But how can we be sure we are getting this when devastating campus events like these occur that make each one of us, whether consciously or subconsciously, feel unsafe at these institutions.

Campuses everywhere are pouring tons of money into building new facilities and resources, developing new and better ways of advertising, and finding countless ways to make their own college or university more selective. But what these college and university campuses need to be doing is focusing on how to improve and invest more money into campus security.

How would it make you feel to walk onto college grounds and receive ambiguous information on how security personnel guarantee your individual safety in this hectic environment? I am sure it just sends shivers down your back to be unsure of whether the place you spend your time from 8 to 5 is a safe place after all.

The occurrence of past school shooting events along with the recent Virginia Tech massacre demonstrates a need of campus and off-campus security to develop new and more effective ways of guaranteeing campus safety.

Katherine Andriole, of the not-for-profit group Security expressed how text messaging might be more of an innovative way of getting to students and faculty faster. Clearly, we have the means to communicate quicker with one another on a massive level so why aren’t we using them when it’s most urgent?

Hopefully in witnessing or hearing about these shocking campus events, we can investigate what we were consistently failing to do for college professors and students across the nation to prevent further death tolls from because of one individual’s hatred of life.

In addition to increasing and developing new ways of providing campus security, the nation needs to focus on the personal background and motives of this senior murderer and how his “troubles” reveal an unspoken lack of individual attention needed at every school. The truth is it doesn’t really matter the size of the school or even its location -- as educators and scholars we need to pay better attention to not only our academic careers, but also our socializing skills, or the lack thereof.

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