Universities Learn About Violence Prevention

In April of 2007, a mentally disturbed student walked onto the campus of Virginia Tech and went on a shooting rampage. By the time it was over, 33 students and faculty members were dead. Today, administrators from several universities took part in a special training session. Bill Stamps has more.

Ever since the Virginia Tech shooting nearly three years ago, college campuses across the country have been re-thinking their security and the way they handle information about troubled students or faculty. University of Houston campus Police chief Malcolm Davis attended all day training session designed to help colleges deal with these issues.

“It’s planning ahead. Not waiting before a problem happens, but be thinking outside the box. If a problem does happen, what are we going to do? What questions are we going to ask? Who are we going to involve in the team?”

Katie Dugal and Allen Garcia are both students at the University of Houston. Both say violence on campus is not something they think about much.

“I’ve actually always felt pretty safe on campus. Really any college campus is going to be as safe as you make it, so I don’t… I’ve always felt really comfortable here. I just don’t walk alone at night.”

“I feel safe, only because I’m here at the School of Music and I do feel safe. I come here at night”

The training session was held at the Marriot Hotel near Greenspoint Mall. There were representatives from UH, Rice as well as, Syracuse and a school in Tennessee.

After the Virginia Tech shooting some university faculty members were sued, accused of ignoring the warning signs the shooter had exhibited. Davis says the goal is to get people to one, recognize the signs and two, do something about them.

“My roommate is acting strange; my faculty is acting strange; my coworker is acting strange. How can they report it? Who can they report it to? Can it be anonymous? Can it be that I come in and meet you one on one? You never want an incident to happen on campus to where there’s any kind of response to a threat, but you want to be prepared in case it does happen.”

They want to be prepared, but the say the key is prevention.