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:
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.