In some cases, alcohol or drugs were involved, and the inevitable finger of blame was pointed at the pervasive violence in movies and videogames that many male students obsessively play and enjoy. The white paper recommended that campus officials implement or drastically overhaul their anti-violence programs. That includes better student screening programs, targeted educational programs for faculty clergy and student resident advisors, expanded on-site counseling, beefed up student support networks, and 24-hour student access to emergency services.
The major danger, however, continued to be student and faculty silence in reporting the crimes, and the tendency of administrators to gloss over of the crimes that occurred. The catch-22 failure of many administrators to aggressively encourage students and faculty members to report crimes, especially violent crimes, deeply affects the ability of some colleges to recruit and retain students. A victim of a violent attack often finds that the trauma affects their classroom performance.
The white paper was a landmark study of campus violence and its causes. It should have been a wake-up call for campus officials to do and say more about the danger of campus attacks, but that wasn't the case. Campus officials were mostly mute on it; the report drew almost no media coverage, and quickly passed from the public's radar.
There will be intensive official investigations into what went wrong, why the killings happened, and what Virginia Tech officials did or didn't do to stop them. That will tell much about whether the students were right to hammer school officials for the sharply raised body count. But if the students are right in their bitter charges it's only the latest -- though by far deadliest -- in the pattern of turning a bllind eye to deadly violence on campuses. That's the dirty secret that the Virginia Tech horror terribly exposed.
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Albion Monitor April
17, 2007 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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