Bucks recount experiences

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Bucks recount experiences

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Former Buckeyes retell events of VT massacre
By: Rick Krumreig
Posted: 4/25/07

Locked down in an office. Shades drawn, lights off, TV on, laptops humming. Ambulances screaming down the street with police scattered all around, guns drawn. This is the scene associate professor Beth Waggenspack witnessed last Monday on the Virginia Tech campus.

"It was more surreal than you can imagine," she said.

Waggenspack is an associate professor of communication at VT and a 1983 Ohio State graduate. She was locked down in her office - two blocks from Norris Hall where the second shooting took place - for almost three hours after word of the shooting spread.

"Loudspeakers were going off saying, 'this is an emergency, lock your doors and windows,'" Waggenspack said. "You just don't expect to hear that."

Nearly a week and a half after the incident, Waggenspack said the university is doing everything it can to get things back on track. Counseling is being offered to any student who needs it and the Red Cross is on campus to offer assistance.

Waggenspack said the semester is almost over at VT and some students have decided not to return, but many are staying the course and banding together.

"You have never seen hugging on a college campus like this in your life," she said.

Waggenspack also said the local media has covered the story thoroughly, including showing the outside support that VT is receiving.

Julia Reusch is a 2003 OSU graduate and the 6 p.m. producer for WSLS, the NBC affiliate in Roanoke, Va. Reusch said when the story broke, the newsroom was in awe.

"Things like that don't happen around here, it was just shocking," Reusch said.

Reusch said the station made a decision to pull the footage that NBC received from the shooter. Reusch said it was important to get some of the questions surrounding the incident answered, but after they were answered, the footage did not need to be shown again. She also said students for the most part have been willing to talk about the situation to the local media.

Waggenspack said the national media, however, has been an intrusive presence.

"They are going up to crying students and sticking a microphone in their faces," Waggenspack said.

Waggenspack also said there are flyers posted on all classroom buildings asking the media to stay out.

Despite being in the national spotlight and having such a media presence on campus, Reusch said the resolve of the VT community has been incredible.

"They are so proud of where they are from and who they are and I think that has really helped them so far," Reusch said.

Aside from that, Waggenspack said the amount of outside support has been tremendous. She said VT's student center is full of banners from colleges and universities across the country. Waggenspack has heard from people that she has not spoken to in years. Everyone from her OSU adviser to her high school boyfriend has been in contact with her.

"Every bit of this support is appreciated," Waggenspack said.

Now that some time has passed, Waggenspack said campus is starting to return to normal.

"I can no longer think of the 'what ifs.' Now I am thinking of what's next," she said.

Waggenspack said campus is as close to normal as possible, but there is a different feel. People are still somber and there is a large police presence on campus, but the mood is generally optimistic and the VT community wants to move forward.

"One victim who was shot three times forgave Cho two days after the incident," Reusch said.

Waggenspack is confident that VT will not waver and the Hokie spirit will continue to stay strong.

"This is something that we will recover from, but we will be changed by," Waggenspack said.

Rick Krumreig can be reached at krumreig.2@osu.edu.

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.thelantern.com/media/storage/paper333/news/2007/04/25/Campus/Bucks.Recount.Experiences-2879714.shtml>The Lantern - April 25, 2007</a>

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Rick Krumreig

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2007-08-16

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Sara Hood

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GERRICK LEWIS <lewis.1030@osu.edu>

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eng

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Rick Krumreig, "Bucks recount experiences," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1120, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1120 (accessed October 22, 2014).