Commentary: Time To Come Togetherby Amy Stanford, Class of 2003
April 18, 2007
As an alumna and a current employee of Virginia Tech, I, like the rest of our tight-knit community, have gone through many emotions over the past two days; confusion, disbelief, and sadness that will continue for some time, for me and so many more.
Having grown up in this area, Virginia Tech was the only school I ever wanted to attend. The four years I spent here were some of the best in my life. Being a “Hokie” has always been a part of who I am and will always continue to be a part of me. At this point in our history, I can definitely say that I am extremely proud of our Hokie Nation. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with everyone who was affected directly or indirectly by this tragedy.
My recollections of the events are as follows. Early Monday morning, I was two buildings down from the now infamous Norris Hall when I received the first email from University Relations at 9:26 a.m. I read of the first shooting in West Ambler Johnston. The Virginia Tech ambulance I passed on my way to work at 10 minutes before 8 now made sense. At that time I felt saddened that someone had been shot on our beautiful, pristine campus but I did not feel any further threat.
Within minutes, however, I began hearing details about the other events that were unfolding in such close proximity to my location. As various faculty and students came into my office and gave details, I thought for sure they were just gross rumors. We were evacuated around 12:30 pm and went home where I learned that the horrifying numbers were not just rumors.
In light of the criticisms of the administration, I feel compelled to come to the defense of this wonderful university. I truly feel that the administration acted in a responsible and timely manner. There is no way that anyone could have predicted the events later in the day in Norris Hall. If the university had locked down by 8 a.m., the gunman would have been locked in his dorm to open fire on the students of Harper Hall.
This is a tragic time for our community, a community that reaches around the world; I received messages of hope and concern from family in North Carolina and friends in Iraq. I feel that the most important thing for all of us is to come together as one, strong Hokie Nation. This community has seen some of its most moving and heartfelt moments over the past two days and I know that we will all come through this stronger and closer.
Amy Stanford works as an administrator for the graduate program in in Virginia Tech‘s Department of Economics.