Friday, April 20, 2007

SJSU responds to Virginia Tech

I got another e-mail last night from the university responding to the shootings earlier this week at Virginia Tech. Here it is:

Dear Students and their Families:

In the wake of the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech, it is important to support one another in our living and learning communities.
Please see any or all of the following messages:

A message from the Vice President for Student Affairs:
http://sa.sjsu.edu/response_to_vt_tragedy.html/vp_response_to_virginia_tech_tragedy.html

Recommendations from the Director of Counseling Services:
http://sa.sjsu.edu/response_to_vt_tragedy.html/virginia_tragedy.html

SJSU emergency plans and tips from the Chief of the University Police Department:
http://sa.sjsu.edu/response_to_vt_tragedy.html/safety_tips_from_upd.html

Information from the Director of University Housing Services about preparedness in the residence halls:
http://www.housing.sjsu.edu/familyresources/residentletter.htm

Sincerely,
Veril L. Phillips
Vice President for Student Affairs
San Jose State University

I think it is good that the university is finally responding, but it is a little late. It is nice they tell us that if we are having problems to go see a counselor and to call the university police if we see something suspicious, but the e-mails themselves raise a few other concerns.

I noticed that I only got these two e-mails (here is the other) on my campus e-mail, even though that is not the e-mail address I have told the university to use to contact me. I did not get the e-mail via the address I gave the school via MySJSU. I do not know how many students at SJSU have school e-mail addresses (the @email.sjsu.edu ones), but I would guess that it is not many, as they are someone what difficult to obtain and use. I have mine set to come into my Gmail account because it is so much better. (The school should consider using Google Apps, it is free, but I digress. Tell Google here.)

One of the things that Virginia Tech has been criticized for is not notifying students when the first shooting took place. An e-mail was sent out two hours after the first incident. Since I only got these messages via my SJSU e-mail address, does this mean that I would only get messages in the event of an emergency via this e-mail address as well? What if I do not check it as often? What about the hundreds (I would guess, maybe thousands) of SJSU students that do not have an official e-mail address? I only got one so that I could sign into Facebook.

I am not overly concerned about my safety at SJSU. The bookstore seems to be able to send me junk mail from the address I put into MySJSU, so I assume that the school can as well, I just hope it does if needed. As a reporter at heart, I would probably be running towards the shootings, not away from them, but that is a another concern.

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