ERIC Number: EJ792045
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr-18
Reference Count: 0
"We Weren't Going to Let the Events Define Us"
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n32 pA1 Apr 2008
The day after a Virginia Tech student gunned down 32 people last April, a young alumnus named Johnson Wagner donned a baseball cap with the VT logo. Then a rookie golfer on the PGA Tour, Mr. Wagner wore the hat while competing in a tournament in South Carolina. There, he voiced a concern shared by many people in Blacksburg, Virginia: "I simply hate the fact that Virginia Tech will be remembered like Columbine High." But a year later, Virginia Tech has not become synonymous with tragedy. In fact, by many measures the university is doing better than ever before. It enrolled a record-breaking number of students this academic year, and applications for next year are at an all-time high. The university raised $83.8-million in gift income last year--11 percent more than the year before--and it expects to bring in an even heftier amount in 2008. The campus's sense of pride, which galvanized sympathy from the entire nation, has never been stronger. Whereas Columbine has come to stand for disaffected teenagers turning violent, Virginia Tech has managed to bypass negative connotations. However, the idea that the campus is moving on, and possibly upward, offends some people, including Gordon K. Davies, a member of the state review panel that harshly criticized the university's response to the killings. He believes Virginia Tech is embracing its recovery while ignoring some problems the tragedy uncovered. It is insensitive to relatives of the victims to even discuss ways in which the campus has not only recovered but is thriving, says Janice M. Abraham, president of United Educators Insurance, which provides risk-management services to colleges. "The entire education community is still struggling with the tragedy," she says. "The idea that in just a year anyone is thinking about the good that's happened would just seem to add more agony to those involved."
Descriptors: Higher Education, Violence, Prevention, Intervention, School Security, School Safety, College Students, College Administration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A