#virginia tech
Coatsworth and Kasdin Reassure Columbia Students

Interim Provost John Coatsworth and Senior Executive Vice President Robert Kasdin sent an email a moment ago “to provide basic guidance in recognizing and responding to behavioral warning signs for potential threats to community safety.”

Though the incident is not mentioned explicitly, one cannot help but be reminded of the tragic shooting that occurred earlier today at Virgina Tech.

The email from Coatsworth and Kasdin:

To the Columbia University Community:

To support Columbia’s efforts to sustain the safety of our University community, this letter provides you with information on what you can do if you have concerns about unusual or disquieting behaviors on the part of a student or other members of our community. There is no guaranteed formula for predicting behaviors, particularly the rare potential for behavior that becomes threatening or violent. However, there are a host of indicators we can all be attentive to that may raise red flags and that deserve further scrutiny. Generally, it is the combination of a number of risk factors that is especially worthy of attention.

Full Email after the jump

Just so you know

Bells will toll 32 times today at noon for the victims of the Virginia Tech students. There’s no official rally, but you should probably be quiet. 

BREAKING: Student Safety Aides Swipe Out

sfsfFollowing the Virginia Tech shootings, Public Safety has announced that all Student Aides, who help man dorm security desks, are to be replaced with regular security guards for the rest of the semester. In an email sent today by Student Aide Coordinator Andrew Ness (provided after the jump), students who work at the desks were told to pick up their paychecks and not to report for duty again.

Some who wrote to Bwog questioned the move, especially because students were invited to apply again for the same positions when Fall semester came around. “They did not provide a correlation between the shootings and exactly why we should lose our jobs,” said one of the students affected. “It’s only bad if we’re randomly killed now, but not in September?”

Bwog posed this question to Mr. Ness, who wrote that he was not at liberty to discuss Public Safety’s plans in further detail. He simply confirmed that, following “the events at Virginia Tech[,] the University is reexamining its security policies to ensure the continued safety of the University community and to maintain our position as the safest Ivy League School.”

UPDATE, Wednesday, 11:12 AM: Assistant VP for Strategic Communications and Planning Rosemary Keane assures us that no students will lose their jobs–all will be reassigned to jobs in Housing and Dining.



Councils Commemorate, Coordinate

In case you haven’t checked your email within the last hour – or tend to disregard student council announcements altogether – Columbia’s student councils have joined forces to schedule a candlelight vigil for victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. The ceremony will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 9PM by the Sundial. CCSC President Seth Flaxman has told Bwog that, although the councils will be providing candles, they are unsure they will have enough for all, and students are encouraged to bring their own.

UPDATE: Ana Ortiz writes: “Because of univesity policy, all lit candles have to be in glass containers… Bring your own if you have a glass container, otherwise we’ll do our best to provide enough for everyone.”

UPDATE: There are also plans to hold a moment of silence for the Virginia Tech shootings on the Steps tonight at 8PM.

Seth also encourages everyone to participate in Take Back the Night this year, which holds special resonance for the Columbia community in the wake of Saturday’s brutal events in Hamilton Heights.


It’s a Mad, Mad World.

Early this morning, a gunman at Virginia Tech went on the deadliest gun rampage in U.S. history. The Washington Post is reporting 33 killings and more than 30 additional injuries as of 6pm. The Posts extensive coverage can be read here. Jamal Albarghouti, a student, caught the gunman on his cell phone’s videocamera and the recording is here.   Initial eye reports are saying that the shooter was probably familiar with the dormitory and other building in which he shot, as he moved very quickly throughout. President Bush will speak about the incident at 4:15pm.

A Columbia Journalism School student was raped and tortured at her apartment in Hamilton Heights on Friday night. Police are still looking for the assailant. President Bollinger has sent out an e-mail to the entire Columbia community in regards to the crime, and it can be read after the jump. The Daily News coverage (more graphic) can be found here