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Commentary: Time To Come Together

by 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.


Comments (4)


What an incredible naive statement Amy. You must be young.
Here is what is going to happen - you can take it to the bank.

(1) The current president of TECH will be fired or 'resign' after the end of the semester.

(2) Tech/State of Virginia will be sued.

(3) The State will settle out of court with a gag order involving both parties.

(4) The amount of money will make the cost of new basketball practice facility look like chump change.

It is impossible to eliminate a first strike. That said it is fairly easy to contain subsequent damage if proper law enforcement techniques are used and are implemented by trained professionals. The response by the University will be a case study on exactly what not to do. It will be embarrassing. The lawyers for the plaintiffs will gather the facts no matter how many state funded "independent investigations" are performed. Once the school years ends, vengeance of the aggrieved victim’s families will commence. It will not be pretty. If Tech were a private institution it would cease to exist. The taxpayers of VA will allow the great institution of V.P.I to carry on.

Bill | April 18, 2007 9:28 PM

To Bill -

At a time like this it is not necessary to lash out and belittle someone who gives their heartfelt opinion. Amy may or may not be young - it is not important.

She has hope that all affected can come through this together. Whether she is right or wrong in the end is not the issue. At least she has hope - which we all should have. Bill, it appears you hope that there will be a contentious outcome. The only answer is "Shame on you". Please place your mental abilities and effort to help even one person affected and thus the result will not be as negative as you portray - at least for that one person.

Linda | April 18, 2007 11:00 PM

I agree with Amy and Linda. Now is not the time for finger pointing or blaming people. It is the time to come together to grieve and help these families and students cope with their losses. I hope and pray that Tech will be able to use this to become stronger.

Kathy | April 19, 2007 11:52 AM

Yes..in these times you shouldn`t put the blaim on anyone...what`s to learn? Coming together in this situation, even more than before. Praying. Helping eachother to deal with this. This act will have many consequences, that`s for sure, but don`t belittle because of your own anger.

And about the killings...you`ll never know for sure if someone is capable to act like this student did. You never know when or if someone will `snap` for sure. What`s going through his/ her mind.
Evil is among us...look at the word. Live! Love! Earn your blessings.

May God bless the students, families, friends, loved ones... and also bless the killer`s sister for coming out, for though she also has a life sentence thanks to her brother.

Angela | April 21, 2007 4:11 AM