Monday, April 16, 2007

The First Virginia Tech Murders Would Have Shut Down a College to Grieve

The tragedy at Virginia Tech is unfolding as I write. The first incident seemed to involve a girlfriend and her RA being shot by an irate boyfriend. Then, two hours later, another sixty or so students were shot in a classroom building, about 30 of whom died. I don't want to second guess the administration on what they should have done to stop the classroom shooting rampage.

I am surprised, though, that a murder of two students was not reason to stop classes and bring everyone together to tell the facts and console the many grieving. I am sure that that is what would happen at Centre. Perhaps Virginia Tech is so large and anonymous that it does not shut down when one or two of their number are murdered.


Anonymous said...

I think Centre College would and has done a better job of handling such a traumatic event.

While very different, I remember attending Centre when a member of my cohort hanged himself inside his dormitory room.

The Centre faculty and administration did an admirable job of allowing students to grieve and recognizing the reality of secondary trauma.

For example, I remember sitting in Professor Froelich's class and simply staring the entire time at where "he" would have been sitting. Class was not mandated. It wasn't even class. It was a way to remember and grieve collectively. Prof F encouraged us to share our thoughts and feelings... He shared his own. He exposed his own vulnerabilities by allowing us to hear his anger, disbelief, tears... his struggling, sharing memories of "him." It really helped some of us do the same. It was a powerful experience.

I stumbled across and thought it might be of interest.

Mark Smith said...

It was a fluid situation, with police searching for a gunman. I'm not sure that bringing everybody together would be a good idea.

Political Realm said...

Yeah, its easy to make that decision now, but at I'm not sure that it would have prevented further violence completely.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it might or might not have prevented further violence. I think it would have been worth doing for sake of college community. In fact, though, pooling facts might (might) have led all those students and teachers who were alarmed about Cho to talk to school officials.