32 killed in Virginia Tech massacre

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32 killed in Virginia Tech massacre

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<i>200 miles away, Duke students hold vigil, admins offer support</i>

By: Anna Lieth
Posted: 4/17/07

After violent shootings shook students and administrators on Virginia Tech&#39;s campus Monday, members of the Duke community gathered last night to mourn and come to terms with the tragic events of the day.

Just 200 miles southeast of Virginia Tech&#39;s home in Blacksburg, Va., Duke students said the news sent a shock wave through the campus. For some, the shock was followed by fear for friends and loved ones in Virginia, but for others fear was displaced by disbelief and worry that a similar event could take place at the campus they call home.

And for one group of students, the natural response to the news was to pray. About 30 students gathered on the steps of the Duke Chapel for an emotional vigil and prayer session for the victims of the shooting, their respective families and the gunman Monday night.

"[The vigil is] not just to console people, but also to know that there is a community that is here to support people and that as a community we need to act together," said sophomore Ashley Dunfee, who attended the event. "We have a root that we act from and that ultimately should be the source of what we do and where we&#39;re going."

President Richard Brodhead, in a statement released to The Chronicle, recognized the magnitude of the events at Virginia Tech and emphasized efforts the University is making to reach out to members of both the Virginia Tech and Duke communities who were affected by the tragedy.

"This is the deadliest campus shooting in United States history and a profoundly sad day for everyone directly affected-and the nation as a whole," Brodhead said. "On behalf of the entire Duke community, I express my condolences to those who are grieving at Virginia Tech. They are enduring a time of unspeakable loss this evening."

John Burness, senior vice president for government affairs and public relations, said Brodhead also reached out following news of the event to Charles Steger, Virginia Tech&#39;s president, to offer his sympathies.

Brodhead said the University is working to provide support for students on Duke&#39;s campus who have been personally affected.

"Student Affairs is in the process of trying to identify every Duke student with Virginia Tech connections and to make personal contact and to offer counseling," he said. "Our Religious Life staff is also available for counseling and the Duke Chapel will be open as always for those who wish to seek a quiet place to reflect."

The Duke Chapel and the Duke Religious Life staff have organized an interfaith prayer vigil to be held on the Chapel steps at 2 p.m. today.

"This vigil is a small gesture at being in solidarity with those in Blacksburg," Craig Kocher, assistant dean of the Chapel and director of religious life, wrote in an e-mail to the student body last night.

Kocher said the vigil will include a time of silence followed by prayer and a bell toll for each person who died yesterday and will conclude with an open session for students to speak about the experience. Virginia Tech will be hosting a similar event on its campus simultaneously, Kocher said.

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Original Source: <a href=http://media.www.dukechronicle.com/media/storage/paper884/news/2007/04/17/News/32.Killed.In.Virginia.Tech.Massacre-2846222.shtml> Duke Chronicle - April 17, 2007</a>

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Anna Lieth

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Duke Chronicle

Date

2007-06-24

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Sara Hood

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David Graham <david.graham@duke.edu>

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eng

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Anna Lieth, "32 killed in Virginia Tech massacre," in The April 16 Archive, Item #601, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/601 (accessed October 23, 2014).