University of Rochester

Tragedy at Virginia Tech

April 17, 2007
To: The College Community
From: Richard Feldman, Dean of the College
        Jody Asbury, Dean of Students

We are writing in the aftermath of the terrible news from the Virginia Tech campus. As a college we share a powerful sense of loss and horror over this event and extend our deep sympathy to the Virginia Tech community.

While this event has occurred at a great distance from Rochester and our campus, it can have rippling effects throughout our community. Some members of the Rochester community may be from the area or have friends or family members there. We want to make sure that students are aware of the support services available to them as they deal with this tragedy. Listed below is the contact information for those offices.

  • University Counseling Center: 275-3113
  • Interfaith Chapel: 275-4321
  • Dean of Students: 275-4085
  • Emergency Resources: 275-3333
  • Residential Life
    • Quad: 275-5685
    • SBA: 275-8764
    • Upperclass area: 273-5853
    • Main Residential Life Office: 275-3166
    • Res Life emergency person: 469-5900

Additional activities will include:

  • Virginia Tech Candelight Remembrance Service—daily in Main Sanctuary, Interfaith Chapel
  • Candlelight Vigil—Wednesday April 18, 11 p.m., Interfaith Chapel

It is inevitable that people will ask questions about what prevents such an incident from happening on our own campus. The honest answer is that no one anywhere can assure that irrational acts will not occur. However, we have a broad and robust array of measures in place to prevent such events. These include an effective emergency response plan, which is described here: are cautious in describing some security measures, for obvious reasons.) In addition, our student support staff meets regularly to identify students in need of support. We have an active e-mail and telephone notification system to alert the campus to a wide variety of concerns. Additional safety and security information and advice is available at the following websites: and

At the center of all these precautionary safety systems are the individual members of the community. Our security and support staff depend on students, staff, and faculty to report any irregularities. We also count on them to use good safety practices themselves. With the help of all community members, we can reduce the odds of such tragedies occurring on our own campus. As a reminder, we have included a list of best safety tips and we ask students, friends and family members to encourage each other to exercise care and compassion in their daily practices.

In light of the tragic incident at Virginia Tech, we will again evaluate all our emergency response policies to review all procedures and notification processes to ensure that we are providing the most secure system possible for our community.


  • Stay aware of your surroundings & keep alert to the activity around you.
  • Look confident and keep your head up. Walk with a purpose. Make eye contact with people you pass by.
  • Walk with a friend or travel in groups whenever possible.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money or too many credit cards.
  • Walk along well lighted, more frequently used pathways.
  • Note the locations of safe havens in your travels to which you can go (stores, restaurants, offices and the like).
  • Have keys (or ID card) ready when approaching your residence or car.
  • Personal safety escorts are available from Security by calling x53333, or use one of the many Blue Light Emergency Phones located throughout campus.
  • When shopping, don't burden yourself with excess packages. Watch for strangers loitering in parking lots. Store purchases out of sight in vehicles. At night, park in well lighted areas.
  • Lock your room or office every time you leave, even if for "just a minute."
  • Donít leave personal belongings unattended.
  • Donít let a stranger into your residence hall or apartment building.
  • Remember to buckle up while driving, and please, don't drink and drive.

IMMEDIATELY notify Security if you see any suspicious activity, or anything else that appears to be unusual or out of place. Dial 13 from any University phone or pick up a Blue Light Emergency Phone.

When elsewhere in the Rochester area, call the police at 911.

Dial 13 for any emergency,
Dial 53333 for any non-emergency,
Pick up a Blue Light Emergency Phone, or
Dial #413 from Cingular or Verizon cell phones
“Help Us Help You”

Content last modified on: April 19, 2007