Students mourn, talk about safety after Va. Tech shootings

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Students mourn, talk about safety after Va. Tech shootings

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By Dawn Witlin/Chronicle Staff
Cambridge Chronicle
Thu Apr 19, 2007, 01:30 PM EDT

Cambridge -

While some MIT students mourned the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings at a Wednesday prayer service, others reflected upon campus safety.

A gunman, identified as student Cho Seung-Hui, opened fire on classrooms and a dormitory at Virginia Tech Monday, killing as least 30 students and professors.

"I think it's pretty safe here," said MIT student and Virginia native Mariam Candid. "You would never imagine it would happen at any universities. I have friends that go there who lost friends and I am just trying to be there to help out."

<a href="http://blogs.townonline.com/cambridge/?p=4981">Cantabrigia blog: What do you think?</a>

The prayer service was held at the MIT chapel, where the institute&#39;s Chaplain Robert Randolph read the names of the dead as mourners lined up to light a single candle in their memory.

"It&#39;s very saddening and scary, that seems to be the case for everyone," said MIT freshman Christine Bognet. "We&#39;re all just trying to keep our heads up...life has to go on."

Harvard and MIT officials said they&#39;re prepared for a disaster similar to what happened at Virginia Tech last week.

Although Joe Wrinn, spokesman for Harvard University, would not comment on security protocol, he said there are many tools at the disposal of Harvard Police.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etCWbT6bPRM">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etCWbT6bPRM</a>

"For obvious reasons, we do not comment on security details, if security details were known it would compromise security efforts," said Wrinn. "I can tell you that there are many tools that would be used in the case of a major emergency."

Wrinn said Harvard students have access to emergency information through a 24-hour phone number, 617-496-NEWS.

"You have reached four-nine-six news, Harvard&#39;s weather emergency and special conditions phone line," said the message left Thursday. "There are no special conditions to report today."

Another tool used by Harvard to notify students of an emergency is blast e-mails and voicemails, sent to all students in case of a major emergency.

"We&#39;ve done that a couple of times with a campus announcement or a message from the dean," said Wrinn. "The houses have listservs and e-mail networks ... a housemaster at Harvard can communicate directly to students."

Patty Richards, spokesman for MIT, also wouldn&#39;t release the details of the campus security methods, but said there are a myriad of tactics for reaching students during an emergency.

"We have very comprehensive emergency plans; we&#39;ve always had them for any kind of emergency," said Richards. "We have plans for just about every situation, even working on the pandemic flu."

Richards said MIT Police, along with the school&#39;s department of environmental health and safety, facilities and staff, all work in tandem during an emergency.

"I&#39;ve heard discussions among them that people have been looking at those [emergency] plans in light of what happened in Virginia," said Richards. "Kind of like, what can we learn from this?"

A service for the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings was also held at Harvard University&#39;s Memorial Church Thursday evening.

<i>- dwitlin@cnc.com</i>

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Original Source: Cambridge Chronicle
<a href="http://www.townonline.com/cambridge/homepage/x1721527458">http://www.townonline.com/cambridge/homepage/x1721527458</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5</a>.

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Dawn Witlin / Cambridge Chronicle Staff

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2007-06-01

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Brent Jesiek

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Dawn Witlin / Cambridge Chronicle Staff, "Students mourn, talk about safety after Va. Tech shootings," in The April 16 Archive, Item #325, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/325 (accessed November 27, 2014).