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UT Extends Condolences to Virginia Tech

Published: April 19, 2007
A Message from President Vaughn

The University of Tampa community extends its condolences and support to the victims’ families and friends in the Virginia Tech tragedy.

There was an outpouring of support and empathy by UT students on Tuesday night at a spontaneous candlelight vigil at the Plant Hall flagpole.

A University's first priority must always be the safety and security of its community members, a difficult challenge in a society that embraces openness and the exchange of ideas. To that end, The University of Tampa regularly reviews all of its safety and communication procedures as they relate to the variety of threats that can endanger the campus community.

UT has both an Emergency Operations Team and an Emergency Operations Plan that deal with crisis situations. The EOT has been called to action many times to deal with emergencies such as hurricanes and other potential threats. The team, which I lead, is composed of senior University staff.

In February, I appointed an ad hoc study group to evaluate the University's safety measures and communication policies as they relate to the safety of its members. Some recommendations have been made and implemented as the group conducted its work. The final study and recommended changes will be communicated to the campus community along with procedural changes.

Specific policies, such as timely warnings to the campus population when there is a threat, are being refined. New high-tech methods of communication to the campus are being evaluated in addition to the verbal warnings, postings, voicemail, e-mail, Web site notification, electronic press releases and other avenues used during emergencies.

Campus building security is another major area being evaluated. The 45 buildings on the UT campus present unique security challenges and unique solutions. For example, residence halls, with their higher level of electronic security, are more easily protected than classroom buildings, libraries and open spaces. We will continue to work on these specific issues, as well as the general security measures used on campus.

While no institution in a free society can ever be completely immune to threat, our goal is to provide a safe and secure campus. We will continually evaluate and strengthen our procedures to minimize the dangers for all members of the University community.

— President Ronald L. Vaughn

The following global e-mail was sent to the University community by President Vaughn on Monday, April 17:

The University of Tampa community offers condolences to the families and friends of the victims at Virginia Tech. We are stunned and saddened by this terrible tragedy. Events like this ought not to happen in any school, business, governmental agency, or organization of any kind.

All of us are understandably affected in some way by what happened on April 16, 2007, and we encourage our community members to talk about this tragedy. The University urges students in particular to seek out Student Affairs and Residence Life staff and their faculty for support, and, if need be, the University’s Student Health and Counseling Center.

Please keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.