Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The killings at Virginia Tech

For those of us who live and work in university residence halls, the tragic events on the Virginia Tech campus have a special significance. The first killings occurred in a University residence hall and one of the victims was a resident assistant. This evening, we has a special meeting of Resident Assistant Staff members in Letts and Anderson Halls to share, discuss and reflect on our feelings. Whenever I participate in such meetings, the range and nuance of views expressed always surprises me. Those in universities who speak about what students are thinking and feeling, without spending a lot of time actually listening to them, almost always get it wrong – or partially wrong.

Of course viewing such events from a vantage point of 20 years or so (the age of most resident assistants) or 26 years or so ( the age of the Resident Directors who lead the meetings) is different. Death is an impending reality for someone of my age, though it may happen later rather than sooner. And, working and living in Sri Lanka, sudden death is an every present reality. This was less true for the young men and women with whom I met to share reflections on the Virginia Tech killings, a few hours ago this evening.


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