Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One BC response to VA Tech

Received this from the Executive Vice President Provost and Dean of Faculties

Dear Students and Members of the BC Community:

In light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we are writing to share information that we hope will provide an understanding of the procedures we have in place to keep our community members safe, and to deal with any emergency situation that might occur on campus.

For the past five years, an Emergency Preparedness Committee, composed of representatives of administrative offices throughout campus, has been meeting on a regular basis to plan for any unforeseen incident that could affect the wellbeing of our campus community. The Committee routinely examines our Emergency Plan and devises measures to respond to various incidents as quickly and effectively as possible.

While this tragedy at Virginia Tech has provided a scenario that was previously unimaginable, it is an issue that we will analyze in our efforts to improve our preparedness and your safety.

As you know Boston College is a safe campus. We have a well trained, professional police force that works in cooperation with federal and state authorities. We have experienced and dedicated administrators who are trained to respond to emergency situations.

Most importantly, we have a supportive community of students, faculty, and administrators who will pull together to help us address and overcome any unexpected issue.

Please avail yourself of the services that Fr. Leahy outlined in his e-mail to the BC Community earlier today, which include counseling services through the University Counseling Center, an ecumenical prayer service at 12:15 p.m. in the Heights Room, a Mass at 5:00 p.m. in St.
Mary’s Chapel and a UGBC-sponsored Candlelight Vigil in St. Ignatius Church at 7:00 p.m. Also, we recommend that students share this information with their parents to help assuage their concerns.

We encourage you to try to go about your day in as normal a fashion as possible, while keeping all members of the Virginia Tech community in your thoughts and prayers.

At least elementary and secondary schools can go into a lockdown mode--teachers have keys to their classroom and can lock the door. Now, is this something that instructors at BC should be able to do? To secure the classroom in case of an event? Certainly it is difficult to do logistically--since classrooms are shared among different departments and so on. Nonetheless, what other measures can the school take besides telling students to "trust BC and the BC Police Department to take care of you when an emergency happens"?

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