• United States



by CSO Contributor


Nov 21, 20072 mins
Build AutomationCSO and CISO

Late this summer, as students were preparing to converge back on the nation’s college campuses, Virginia Tech released the results of an extensive internal security review conducted in the aftermath of the April 16, 2007, shootings that left 33 dead (including the lone gunman) on the Blacksburg, Va., campus. The review examined physical security on campus, as well as communication and organizational issues that affected the university’s response during the crisis. Universities and colleges across the country and around the world will be paying attention to the findings and their implementation. A selection of the panel’s recommendations for hardening campus security is below. A full account of the findings and recommendations can be viewed here.

Physical Infrastructure

  • Remove and replace hardware on all perimeter doors to mitigate the risk of doors being chained.
  • Install interior locks on all general assignment classrooms.
  • Explore the installation of a centrally controlled electronic card key access system for all key academic and administrative facilities. In the event of an emergency, such a system would allow individual and groups of buildings to be locked remotely by the police department.
  • Construct a state-of-the-art public safety building that will physically consolidate Virginia Tech Police and Virginia Tech Rescue Squad services in a single facility.
  • Explore the feasibility of deploying a centrally monitored closed-­circuit television system using video surveillance cameras.


  • Provide mass notification in classrooms and other environments where other systems may not provide adequate notification.
  • Explore the installation of LCD message boards within the entrances to key campus buildings, as well as outdoor illuminated message boards at major campus entrances. These displays would alert the campus to emergency situations and provide instructions on the appropriate actions to be taken.
  • Create an electronic “people locator system” that members of the campus population could log on to, to post their status so that relatives, friends and colleagues could receive updated information.

Emergency Preparedness

  • To prepare for potential emergencies, increase the use of annual “tabletop,” or simulation, exercises by key campus units (for example, police, rescue squad, physical plant, building coordinators and so on).