Grieving nation copes with tragedy

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Grieving nation copes with tragedy

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<b>BU assessing safety, mental health concerns</b>

By: Barbara Rodriguez
Posted: 4/18/07

Boston University officials are still assessing how Monday&#39;s deadly shootings at Virginia Tech will prompt any changes in BU&#39;s security and mental health services.

Officials will be monitoring the campus "climate" during the next few days, speaking with the Office of Residence Life and other departments that work with students, said Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore.

More than 100 BU community members gathered on Marsh Plaza yesterday afternoon at a candlelight vigil to remember the victims, many of whom were Virginia Tech students and a few professors.

Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech senior from South Korea, shot and killed 30 people in an academic building around 9:15 a.m., two hours after he killed two students in a residence hall Monday morning on the Blacksburg, Va. campus. Cho injured more than 15 others and shot and killed himself following the second shooting, police say.

Marsh Chapel officials have been talking with students in person and through email, said Marsh Chapel dean Robert Hill. Representatives from the Florence & Chafetz Hillel House and the Newman House, which houses the university&#39;s Catholic Center, were also available at the vigil.

"I was surprised by the number [of people at the vigil]," Hill said.

Elmore and BU Police Department Chief Thomas Robbins attended a city safety meeting at the Boston Police Department headquarters yesterday afternoon where representatives from 19 area schools discussed ways to improve safety protocols and communication among city and local agencies, Elmore said.

"We will be in a continual assessment," addressing BU&#39;s training response, how departments communicate with each other and the various city and state agencies they work with, he said.

"We know we&#39;ve got a network of public safety," Elmore said. "It is still important to assess [BU&#39;s] crisis response."

BU officials are continuing to offer chaplain and counseling services. Marsh Chapel officials are inviting students to gather at 11 a.m. today at the chapel for another moment of prayer, Hill said.

"Our hearts really go out to the people in Virginia," he said. "We know what it means to grieve."

Many faculty members, parents, students and staff contacted the Dean of Students Office yesterday with suggestions and concerns about how BU could handle a campus shooting, Elmore said.

Elmore, who hosts weekly conversations with students in the Howard Thurman Center, will focus the first portion of Friday&#39;s discussion on the shooting, while a behavioral medicine representative will be present for counseling.

"There&#39;s lots of issues about violence and people&#39;s personal safety," Elmore said.

The Albert and Jesse Danielson Institute, one of BU&#39;s psychological facilities, is also offering students counseling services despite an extensive waiting list to be treated, said Clinical Director Dr. Jorge Stavros.

Stavros said if students contact the Institute with an "acute reaction" to the shootings, the office will make an appointment for them immediately. As of last night, no students had contacted the Institute in regard to the shootings.

Elmore is encouraging BU community members of the BU community to reach out to others and alert officials if they suspect someone behaving suspiciously.

"If it doesn&#39;t feel right to us, we have to report it," he said. "I&#39;m always encouraging students to be mindful about their own personal safety."

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/04/18/News/Grieving.Nation.Copes.With.Tragedy-2849522.shtml> The Daily Free Press - April 18, 2007</a>

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Barbara Rodriguez

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The Daily Free Press

Date

2007-08-14

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Sara Hood

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Matt Negrin <editor@dailyfreepress.com>

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eng

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Barbara Rodriguez, "Grieving nation copes with tragedy," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1050, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1050 (accessed October 21, 2014).