2007-04-16

VT rampage will open discussion of campus safety

What happened today at Virginia Tech today was absolutely horrible, with more people killed than in the shooting rampages at Columbine High School or the University of Texas. (I was hoping that the round-the-clock discussions of Don Imus on news channels would end, but not because of this kind of story.) This tragedy probably hits home in every academic community. Unfortunately, we will probably hear a lot of public discussion that will place blame on the wrong people and the wrong issues. I already heard a law enforcement instructor criticizing a lack of security screening on the campus.

I hope that any possible official overreaction does not come to our campus at the University of Georgia here in Athens. Like Virginia Tech, we have an open campus and generally low crime. Both visitors and members of the university community can freely visit the campus and many of its buildings. We have an air of respect and vigilance that discourages crime and violence (except on certain fall Saturdays). Metal detectors and searches are even lacking at functions involving important government officials from our own country and abroad.

I hope that we see no changes in security measures at UGA in the wake of this tragedy. Let's mourn this loss without asking for overprotective measures or blaming Virginia Tech administrators.

3 comments:

Model Consumer said...

So... What do we need to do, if anything, to ensure that mentally ill people do not have access to firearms, while maintaining access to firearms for the rest of us?

Polusplagchnos said...

The same thing we do to ensure alcoholics or meth addicts do not have access to automobiles or airplanes, while maintaining access to such for the rest of us.

Nicki said...

Yeah, well, I think we should blame to some extent VT administrators, who apparently thought a once in its history occurrence didn't necessitate any kind of emergency measures. That was stupid, and people died when perhaps they didn't need to.

That said, UGA has good security measures and experience using them. So I'm happy with our existing systems.