Threat Assessment

Many reports and assessments followed once information was published about what occurred at the university of April 16, 2007. A specific one, written by Chris Rasmussen and Gina Johnson, dove into not only the immediate concerns arising from the Virginia Tech shooting but how governments and campuses would move forward to improve the safety of their campuses for students and staff. The Virginia Tech incident had a “ripple-effect” causing a majority of campuses to reflect on their safety and what they could do to improve this for their community. One of the main concerns moving forward was how the university could more efficiently inform the campus of a dangerous situation. As seen in the Virginia Tech shooting the first email was not sent out until over two hours after the first shooting occurred. Text messaging became a clear effective route to communicate important information in a timely manner. This caused many universities to implement a system where if there was a situation they could easily send out a message campus wide.1

Virginia Code of Law

Threat assessment teams were also required for every single public school in Virginia following this incident. The tented of these teams was to provide a designated group to create complex and thorough discussions about what could be improved to better the campus safety for their specific school. The team was also adding individuals to help manage the requirements from some directors at universities. This would allow a more in-depth and consistent watching eye over the students who might need extra help or attention. In some universities, like Virginia Tech, there are tens of thousands of students and to keep track of each individual one can be time consuming and resource demanding. Adding more staff to manage this weight was the clear solution. The development of these teams also wanted to improve the communication structures within the universities to make sure that no information slipped through the crack, like it had with Cho. The hope was that while it is almost impossible to guarantee a perfectly safe campus that the addition of these measures would help universities manage the growing weight of creating a safer campus.2

  1. Rasmussen and Johnson, The Ripple Effect of Virginia Tech, 15-17. ↩︎
  2. Deisinger and Scalora, “Threat Assessment and Management in Higher Education in the United States”, 187. ↩︎

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