VA Tech Massacre Spurred Overhaul of Campus Safety

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Kristina Anderson has learned to decipher very quickly how much a college values campus safety. “Quite frankly, it’s easy,” says the 29-year-old survivor of the April 16, 2007, shooting at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, which left 32 students and faculty members dead. Anderson counts how many clicks it takes for her to navigate from the school’s homepage to information about emergency protocols, says US News. Virginia Tech has an entire campus safety section linked directly from the homepage. For other schools, it takes six or seven clicks. And then there are those that make it nearly impossible to find such information.

She says too many schools give short shrift to violence planning. “Fifteen minutes at the start of your freshman year is not the answer,” she says. A decade has passed since a gunman entered Anderson’s French class and methodically shot every student. The shooting had ramifications for colleges and universities across the country, setting in motion a systemic overhaul of campus safety regulations – those mandated by the federal government and those proactively adopted by schools. “All of higher education was profoundly affected by what happened on our campus 10 years ago,” says Mark Owczarski, Virginia Tech’s assistant vice president for university relations. “All of higher education changed and our society changed in the days and weeks that followed.”

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