STAFF EDITORIAL: Providing Comfort

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STAFF EDITORIAL: Providing Comfort

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By
PUBLISHED APRIL 17, 2007

On Monday morning, 32 students at Virginia Tech were killed and about 30 others injured by a shooting at the hands of a fellow student. This tragedy raises questions about the nature of events like this and what Columbia might do in a similar situation. Yet the administration was slow in publicly responding to the event, and when it did, it failed to address the crucial question about what the University's response plan would be. The University should have expressed its sympathy, explained the counseling options available to students, and addressed safety concerns on Monday when the shootings occurred.

The tragedy hit especially close to home on campus-first, because the victims were fellow students, and second, because many students here have friends and acquaintances at Virginia Tech. The University's immediate response should have been to give some notification telling students where they could go for counseling if desired. Tonight a candlelight vigil will be held on Low Steps for the victims, and the Counseling and Psychological Services office will be open until 11 p.m. for students who need its services. This is a good step on the University's part, but it should have made those resources available more quickly and opened CPS for extended hours.

Questions have also been asked about how effective Virginia Tech officials were in securing the campus after the first round of shooting. Naturally, these questions raise concerns about Columbia's own emergency management plan and the safety and security of its campus. University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Dartmouth College President James Wright have released statements offering condolences to the Virginia Tech community and providing information about the security of their respective campuses, as well as publicizing the counseling services that they have available. University President Lee Bollinger should follow suit and send an e-mail to the entire University explaining the details of its response plan.

Obviously, students do not need the University to hold their hands. But the University does have the responsibility to help them get through tragedies such as this and to encourage them to seek help if needed. Merely informing students more quickly of what counseling options were available would have been of significant help to students, as would have information about what the University would do if a similar crisis occurred here. Tonight at the candle light vigil, Columbia students will come together in solidarity. The University must do the same, providing students help and support.

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Originial Source: Columbia Spectator
<a href="http://www.columbiaspectator.com/node/24900">http://www.columbiaspectator.com/node/24900</a>

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Editorial Staff

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Date

2008-02-17

Contributor

Kacey Beddoes

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Tom Faure (tomfaure@gmail.com)

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eng

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Editorial Staff, "STAFF EDITORIAL: Providing Comfort," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1680, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1680 (accessed April 20, 2014).