US college shooting 'could happen in UK'

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US college shooting 'could happen in UK'

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<b>Debbie Andalo
Tuesday April 17, 2007</b>
<a href="http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,2059208,00.html">EducationGuardian.co.uk</a>

The mass shooting at Virginia Tech University could easily happen on a UK campus, an academic and former vice-president of a US institution warned today.
Prof Geoffrey Alderman, formerly the vice-president of Touro College in New York, said: "If you asked any university security guard in the UK whether what happened in Virginia could happen here, and they replied no - they would be lying.

"I am sure every university in this country will be reviewing their security and although they will be shocked at what has happened in the States they would not be shocked at the suggestion that the same thing could happen here."

He added that institutions had "better face the fact that what happened at Virginia Tech could happen in any British university". He said if someone was determined to shoot people, he couldn&#39;t see any way to prevent it.

Prof Alderman was vice-president of Touro College for nearly three years until he returned to the UK in 2002. He remains an emeritus professor in history at the college.

Referring to security at the New York campus he said: "Security was pretty tight. Every student and member of staff had to wear photographic ID and there were security guards on the gates of every campus. Nobody was allowed in or out without ID.

"But security ID can only go so far, especially if you have a sprawling campus, and not one that you can lock-down - if you go to Oxford or Cambridge, for example, the universities are embedded in the cities."

Prof Alderman believes a key factor behind the Virginia Tech tragedy, which claimed 32 lives, is the United State&#39;s innate tolerance of guns.

He said: "This is an issue about the availability of guns in the US - the right to carry arms is enshrined in the American conscience. In my New York days it was something that was enshrined in the American psyche - even in New York where they are quite strict about the carrying of arms.

The Fulbright Commission, the Anglo-American academic exchange programme that annually has around 20 UK postgraduates at universities in the US, confirmed today that none of its scholars have been sent to Virginia Tech.

Penny Egan, the commission&#39;s executive director, expressed "shock and huge concern" for everybody involved in the US shooting, but said she was confident it would not deter students from applying to its academic exchanges programme in the future.

She said: "Our website has 1.5 million hits every month and a third of those come from UK students. There continues to be a tremendous interest from British students.

"There was a slight decline [in UK interest] following 9/11, but that was a more all pervading issue."

She added: "My own view is that we won&#39;t see any decline in interest from UK students following this isolated incident. We have a number of US interns working here and their view is that they see it as an isolated incident and not as something which is part of any trend."

Universities UK, the organisation that represents university vice-chancellors, today sent a message of condolence to the president of the American Council on Education, which represents US higher education colleges and associations.

Earlier today the head of an American university in London expressed his sympathy for the victims of the college tragedy.

William Moore, the president of the American InterContinental University, said: "It was just a shock that something like that could happen. It&#39;s a tragedy and as an American I share my sense of sympathy for all the families and everybody effected.

"I will be meeting my senior colleagues ... to see how we may respond." The InterContinental is an official branch campus of the American InterContinental University in Atlanta, Georgia. It recruits students from around the world, not just the US.

<B>Related articles</B><BR>17.04.2007: <A HREF="/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2058979,00.html">Killer&#39;s identity still unrevealed</A><BR>17.04.2007: <A HREF="/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2058978,00.html">Massacre on the campus</A><BR>17.04.2007: <A HREF="/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2058976,00.html">&#39;25 of us went in, just four walked out&#39;</A><BR><BR><B>Background</B><BR>17.04.2007: <A HREF="/higher/worldwide/story/0,,2058977,00.html">A history of violence</A><BR><BR><B>Map</B><BR><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/graphic/0,,2058574,00.html">Where it happened</A>

Copyright Guardian News & Media Ltd 2007

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Original Source:<a href="http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,2059208,00.html">http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,2059208,00.html</a>



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Debbie Andalo

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Guardian Unlimited

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2007-08-12

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Adriana Seagle

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Debbie Andalo, "US college shooting &#39;could happen in UK&#39;," in The April 16 Archive, Item #998, http://april16archive.org/items/show/998 (accessed September 23, 2014).