Harper Resident Angered By University’s Late Decision To Shut Downby Rosanna Brown
April 17, 2007
Editor’s Note: In recognition of the importance of free speech, Planet Blacksburg publishes the views of student contributors. The opinions expressed herein are not the official position of Planet Blacksburg and are not endorsed by the organization.
I woke up Monday morning. A seemingly normal morning, the thoughts in my mind raced over the days events. I had class at 10 a.m., a visual presentation at 12:20, a news story deadline at 2:00, and work at 2:30. It was the usual entourage of events and assignments that go through your head as a student preparing for the beginning of your busy week.
I was checking my e-mail, answering one from my mother regarding my wisdom teeth being pulled the week after classes were to finish. Less than four weeks left I thought.
I signed onto AIM to receive a frantic IM from a good friend of mine who lived in West AJ. It was 9:50 and I had a class that I needed to walk to begin to walk to across the Drillfield to Shanks. My friend informed me of a shooting that had occurred on the fourth floor of her dorm. I immediately checked my e-mail looking for notification from the school that classes were canceled, or that we were on some sort of lock down. My inbox had nothing to that affect.
I took it upon myself to not venture out that morning to class. There was a shooter on the loose and I had no idea where he could be and did not want to put myself in harm’s way. I made efforts to notify my friends and let them now to forget their classes that morning. The University shed no light on the situation at that point.
Little did I know while I was locking my suite door and closing the blinds that the murderer himself was in my dorm, Harper Hall, planning to cross the Drillfield to take the lives of many more students.
Classes were in full swing and my fellow peers were assured that the situation was supposedly “isolated.”
It is unfortunate that the individuals a part of our student body with the same dreams, aspirations, and challenges of daily student life were subject to such preventable violence.
Police officers claim that they had “reason to believe” that the shooter had left the campus. We all know what assumptions do.
There was nearly three hours between the two shootings and nothing was done to keep students away from harms way on a campus where a shooter was not yet contained.
A University like any other self-sustaining business must achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction in order to keep with other comparable institutions. In our case, we the students are the customer. It is the general consensus that as members of the close-knit community we are very disappointed by the loss of our colleagues, friends, and family involved with this incident. In the case of a business, the customers of Virginia Tech are experiencing grave disappointments with the security system.
The board of visitors met not to long ago so as to determine the budget for the University. Tuition was raised $500 for in-state students, $5,000 for out-of-state students. Not only this but efforts for buildings renovations, and new-buildings constructions, specifically a $20 million basketball practice facility. Nothing during the meeting discussed the increase in campus security in response to the Morva incident during Fall semester. There was no talk of the implementation of security cameras, heightened police staff in residence halls, an overall increase in the police regimentâ€”nothing.
According to Larry Hinker our tuition raise is due to the state of Virginia not meeting budget board adequacy for University funding. The plan is to increase tuition approximately 6 percent every year for the next five years at Virginia Tech. Tuition is said to pay for only academic-related expenses.
Our safety is an academically related expense. Our academic infrastructure was shaken at its core by the death of 33 students on Monday. The recent increases in tuition and board discussion should have allotted a percentage of the budget to increased safety on campus.
The Morva incident was the perfect dress rehearsal for officials in August. After this incident, changes should have been implemented to secure and lock-down campus during times in which the student body may encounter potential harm.
Our past should be the mold for our future in order to prevent tragedies from repeating themselves.
Why was the campus not on lock down early Monday morning when blood was shed? Whatever excuses police officers and University President Charles Steger may provide will not bring back the lives of the 30 students attending class innocently in Norris Hall.
Officials failed to learn from experiences in August; thus failing the student body. Mr. Steger I recommend you sign your resignation papers soon.