Gustavus Responds to Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Posted on April 19th, 2007 by

A campus flyer

A campus flyer

After the tragic events at Virginia Tech University, administrators at Gustavus Adolphus College met to reflect on the situation, to coordinate appropriate campus responses to the event, and to review the College’s Crisis Management Plan.

Prayer and reflection

The Gustavus community reacted quickly to the tragedy in Blacksburg, Va. with an informal gathering on Monday, April 16 in Christ Chapel. The gathering allowed students, staff and faculty the opportunity to come together for a time of silence, reflection and prayer in the wake of events that unfolded at Virginia Tech.

The daily Christ Chapel service at 10 a.m. April 20 will also be an opportunity for the Gustavus community to reflect upon Monday’s deadly shootings as well as to commemorate the Columbine High School shooting of April 20, 1999.

Efforts have been made by members of the Gustavus community to reach out to the Virginia Tech community. Student Senate Co-Presidents Tony Spain and Chris Edelbrock sent a letter to the Student Government Association of Virginia Tech to extend condolences for the tragic events.

There are several members of the Gustavus community with ties to Virginia Tech University. College administrators ask that students and staff be sensitive and supportive to any individuals affected by the tragedy.

Coping with tragedy

Students and staff are also reminded that staff members are available in the Counseling Center (507/933-7027) and the Chaplain’s Office (507/933-7446) for anyone struggling to deal with the tragedy.

Gustavus’s Crisis Management Plan

Gustavus Director of Campus Safety and Security Ray Thrower says the College has a detailed plan that is continually tested and updated that can be put into action should any sort of emergency or crisis present itself.

Thrower said that the College’s Crisis Management Plan was used in 1998 when a tornado descended upon campus. The plan effectively protected students and employees who were on campus that night and has been modified and enhanced since then.

“While nobody can predict the exact circumstances of every possible crisis, we feel we are prepared to the best of our ability to combat an emergency situation,” Thrower said.

The College has the ability to send out mass e-mails and voice-mails to students, staff, and faculty to alert them of any sort of emergency. Also in place is a residential life phone tree that would spread a word-of-mouth emergency message to students in residence halls. The college is currently exploring use of technology that would allow it to send messages to students’ cell phones. In addition, all Gustavus professors have the capability to lock classroom doors in the case of a lockdown situation.

Thrower also emphasized the close, working relationship the College Safety and Security staff has with local law enforcement agencies. The St. Peter Police Department and the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office constantly monitor communication channels at Gustavus and vise versa to ensure the safety of students and employees.

The College reminds students that all residence halls on campus are locked 24 hours a day for the express purpose of keeping students safe. Students are asked to not prop doors open at the entrances of residence halls and to be alert for “tailgaters” who try to enter halls behind them without a proper key. Students should not hesitate to call campus Safety and Security if they are ever concerned about their safety. Emergency blue phones are scattered throughout campus, otherwise the extension for Safety and Security is 8888.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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