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College Talk Blog

Are colleges responsible for your safety?

Considering a Virginia college or university?  A deputy attorney general in Virginia is asserting that college administrators at colleges in Virginia do not have a duty to protect students from foreseeable harm. This assertion was made in the current wrongful death case brought against the state of Virginia by the parents of Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson, two students who lost their lives in the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007.
This is disturbing to families who logically assume that college administrators have a duty to protect students from harm. Parents and students expect colleges to be responsible for having systems in place to warn students of known threats and dangers on campus. Emergencies that can happen on campus range from the threat of fire and natural disasters to threats posed by a disturbed student or hostile intruders.
Most colleges provide a variety of safety measures to protect students. Those measures include:
  • keeping campus in good repair
  • providing campus security and campus police services
  • providing campus travel services to help students navigate campus at night
  • secure dorm buildings that require codes or keys
  • warning systems, lockdown and evacuation procedures to alert students about campus emergencies
  • drills and information that train students how to react to emergencies
  • safe buildings with up to date safety features
What is disturbing about the assertion by a representative of the Virginia Attorney General's Office is that it conflicts with all of the activity on campuses designed to protect students. If it is true that there is no legal duty for Virginia college officials to protect students, the legislature in Virginia has work to do to keep the confidence of parents and students.

2 Comments to Are colleges responsible for your safety?:

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proposal writing services on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 10:19 AM
If you have to enter college then you are responsible of student security
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Pam Rambo on Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:24 PM
I agree that students share in the responsibility for their own safety on campus just as they would anywhere else. However colleges also share that responsibility just as public schools and all public places have responsibility to people on their grounds. The assertion by the representative of the Attorney General's office is unsettling.
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