Almost a year after the Virginia Tech killings, Congress is still haggling over legislation that could provide federal dollars to colleges and universities to help pay for improved campus security, reports Gannett News Service. More campus violence erupted Feb. 14 when a gunman killed five students at Northern Illinois University before killing himself. Six days earlier, a female student at Louisiana Technical College shot two students and killed herself. The organization Security on Campus estimates that last year was the most deadly on campus with more than 40 murders.
Bills approved by the House and Senate would authorize federal matching grants for universities to help pay for emergency communication systems or improved safety training. The measures, part of a bill that updates the postsecondary education law, is now part of a House-Senate conference. Congressional action could come as early as April on the education bill. Actual funding must be approved by appropriations committees and signed into law by the president. After the Virginia Tech shootings, college officials and security experts told Congress that outdated communications systems were hampering effective campus security. They also said federal grants could help schools pay for stronger security. “Security is a very big deal,” at universities since Virginia Tech, said Terry Hartle of the American Council on Education.