VSU Reacts to Virginia Tech Tragedy

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By Ben Wolf
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Valdosta State student Nick Mazzilli spent his middle school years in Virginia. Several of his friends attend Virginia Tech, the site of complete chaos Monday as a gunman shot and killed more than 30 students, including himself.

"I contacted one friend and he immediately didn't pick up, and first reaction I got scared, but then I ended up contacting them," said Mazzilli.

More than 600 miles from Blacksburg, Virginia, VSU has an ongoing monthly crisis prevention group that meets.

University officials also keep in constant contact with other campuses in the Georgia university system about campus events. They say safety is a top priority.

"We have foot security here both professionally trained officers as well as student security," said VSU Vice President Dr. Kurt Keppler.

University officials say another helpful tool is the emergency phones located throughout the Valdosta State campus.

The VSU Police Department is a member of several organizations, including the International Organization of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

"Our incident command systems training we recently had on campus was also sponsored by the International Association," said MAJ Ann Farmer of the VSU Police Department.

Despite the utmost dedication to student safety, VSU officials say something this tragic can happen anywhere and there are never any guarantees when it comes to safety.

VSU officials have the technology to reach all students and faculty with a voice message by placing a call into a university database of phone numbers.