Campus security in the wake of Va Tech

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Campus security in the wake of Va Tech

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By: WSN Staff
Posted: 4/17/07

The shooting yesterday at Virginia Tech was shocking, particularly because of its enormous death toll - 33 students were killed in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. Our condolences go out to Virginia Tech and the friends and families of the victims. While it was an isolated incident that took place far away from NYU, Public Safety is nonetheless beefing up security in response, doubling and tripling up on patrols, with all officers advised to be on "high alert."

This in turn prompts us to ask, "How would NYU respond to a similar event?" From the few details that have emerged from Virginia Tech, it appears that the assailant shot and killed two people in a dormitory before moving on to another part of campus, where two hours later he killed 30 others, then himself. It's important to note that the gunman was not a student. So, from that larger question comes two others: Would a shooter still be on the loose two hours later? And would current security policies limit the ability of a nonstudent to commit such a crime?

Clearly, having students flash their IDs poses no deterrent for a rampaging gunman - but there's little that can be done about that. Public safety officers at NYU are equipped with a red button on their walkie-talkies that sends an emergency signal to the central station - should central station determine that an emergency is taking place, the New York Police Department would be notified. Direct intervention by campus security officers is frowned upon, and for good reason - without the proper equipment, they too could easily become victims. But the inherent lag time in this emergency system is somewhat disconcerting, given that the packed halls of the Silver Center could produce dozens of victims in just a few moments. That said, given the nature of our Washington Square "campus," it's unlikely a gunman would be able to continue on his way two hours later.

Though this sort of event is seemingly random, we'd like to think that they're at least somewhat preventable, which is why we appreciate that the Wellness Exchange is making itself more visible in response. While it's not a perfect solution - especially when the perpetrator's not a student and unable to take advantage - offering these services to the students who need them is a good step toward making students happier and safer.

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.nyunews.com/media/storage/paper869/news/2007/04/17/Opinion/Campus.Security.In.The.Wake.Of.Va.Tech-2845894.shtml>Washington Square News - April 17, 2007</a>

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WSN Staff

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Washington Square News

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2007-08-08

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Sara Hood

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"Alvin Chang, WSN" <editor@nyunews.com>

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eng

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WSN Staff, "Campus security in the wake of Va Tech," in The April 16 Archive, Item #950, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/950 (accessed October 1, 2014).