It’s been a little over a week since the horrific shooting that took the lives of innocent students and faculty at Virginia Tech. Media outlets have been quick to attack the school’s administration for the failure to both shut down the campus and to provide help for Seung-Hui Cho long before he decided to murder 32 people.
While this tragedy provides an important lesson to colleges across the nation, school administrators should not be pressured into rushing to make major policy changes.
Thus far, the College and the state have taken vital first steps to ensure that students and staff can feel safe on campus.
College officials are reviewing the critical incident plans and posted a Web page, tcnj.edu/~ccr/critical, outlining the actions that would be taken during an emergency. Meanwhile, the New Jersey legislature proposed a bill requiring colleges to submit security plans to state administrators for review.
At nearby Rowan University, for example, drills have been run with members of Campus Police, residence hall staff, counselors and even food service employees. They practice for everything from a student being quarantined to a shooter on campus.
We can only hope that as the media attention swarming around this tragic event dies down, the College will continue to make significant changes and preparations. Just as there is pressure now to make large-scale changes, there is also the danger that necessary changes will not be made if too much time goes by.
Though we all hope that there will never be a need to implement a critical incident plan, it’s comforting to see the College acting and acting quickly. After all, it can never hurt to be overprepared.