Rolla Vigil Sparks Memories
"It's all right," was the theme of how people felt at UMR after the incidents at Virginia Tech. Rolla held a vigil to honor the victims and passed out ribbons made in Virginia Tech colors. But the two campuses share more than you might think.
On Feb. 27, the Rolla campus had a bomb scare. A student threatened to detonate a homemade bomb and use anthrax. But the difference between this incident and the one in Virginia comes down to the way the university handled the situation.
"Your first thought is, you know, do I feel safe on my campus," Lauren Huchingson, UMR Student President, said.
She said she feels safe at UMR.
"The administration got the information that they had and I feel that from what they learned they got out what they could in a really timely manner," said Huchingson.
Although Rolla police responded to the bomb threat at 3 a.m., university officials didn't hesitate to alert the student body.
"We used e-mail, the Web site, etc., to notify students, faculty and staff that we were postponing classes till 10:30 and then later we sent out another e-mail that we were cancelling classes for the day," said Andrew Careaga, director of communications at UMR.
UMR officials admit students criticised them for the lack of information the school offered.
"Our philosophy on the campus is to get the information out as quickly as possible and provide as much information as possible," Careaga said.
"But in a lot of different crisis situations you don't have all the information, so it's important, I believe, to get the word out as quickly as possible and then provide more information updates as much as you can," said Careaga.
Rolla counselors say they haven't had an increase in students seeking counseling since the bomb scare in February. They say student reaction to the Virginia Tech news is widespread, and students need to talk to someone, they can contact the guidance center.