A college or university campus may be both an educational and a residential environment, making it a setting in which significant developmental and transitional stressors are ushered into a person’s life.This combination is not often found in other settings.
It was based upon the Safe School Initiative (SSI), a research project that examined 37 incidents of targeted school shootings that occurred between 19 at elementary, middle, and high schools.
This landmark study identified observable pre-attack behaviors of student perpetrators in K-12 schools and highlighted several strategies for recognizing and managing persons who pose a threat to school populations.
In response to the Virginia Tech incident on April 16, 2007, former cabinet Secretaries Michael Leavitt and Margaret Spellings, and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales submitted the Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy dated June 13, 2007. The project drew from the Secret Service’s experience in studying threat assessment and the prevention of targeted violence; the Department of Education’s expertise in helping schools facilitate learning through the creation of safe environments for students, faculty, and staff; and, the FBI’s threat assessment and investigative expertise. Approximately two-and-a-half hours later, Cho entered Norris Hall, a lecture building, and shot numerous students and faculty before killing himself.
For more information, please contact the Department’s Alternate Format Center at 202-260-0852 or 202-260-0818. This effort was implemented through the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. Around a.m., Cho fatally shot a female student in her dormitory room in West Ambler Johnston Residential Hall and then shot the building’s residential advisor.
When considering whether these findings are applicable to similar incidents within an IHE setting, it is important to note that specific and observable pre-attack behaviors demonstrated by attackers at the college or university level have yet to be thoroughly examined for comparison.
Applying the findings of the SSI to IHE-based populations may provide appropriate prompts and insights to guide threat assessment, but there are important differences that may impact the threat assessment process.We strived to create a product that will be useful for threat assessment and campus safety professionals charged with identifying, assessing, and managing violence risk at IHEs. Meetings were subsequently held with college and university representatives, local and state leaders, law enforcement officials, and mental health care providers. Department of Education, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) initiated a partnership in pursuit of this goal. There was limited previous research on these issues, so the initial framework for the project became clear to the three agencies, which began a comprehensive effort to identify, through open-sources, incidents of targeted violence that have affected IHE communities.These law enforcement, mental health, student affairs, and legal professionals provide an incredible service under unique and often challenging circumstances. President Bush instructed Secretary Leavitt to summarize the lessons learned from these meetings and to recommend how the federal government could help prevent similar incidents in the future. The three entities began by asking fundamental questions, such as: How prevalent are the incidents of targeted violence that affect institutions of higher education (IHEs)? This report provides an overview of these incidents and the involved subjects, discusses initial observations regarding behaviors of the subjects, and offers preliminary considerations regarding the data that may have relevance to threat assessment. Authorization to reproduce this publication in whole or in part is granted. We addressed fundamental questions regarding where, when, and how these incidents occurred, and captured information concerning the offenders and their relationship to the IHEs. This killing spree stunned the nation and questions echoed throughout the country from parents, administrators, and government officials alike.While permission to reprint is not necessary, the citation should be: Drysdale, D., Modzeleski, W., and Simons, A. Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education. When possible, we also identified factors that may have motivated or triggered the attacks. Christensen, Allison Grupski, Meghann Hudson, Leigh Ann Perry, Kari L. Stamatopoulos, Elizabeth Sutton, and Maria Valdovinos. This project also benefited from the thoughtful comments of a subject matter expert group comprising representatives from campus law enforcement, threat assessment professionals, and higher education. In response, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine established the Virginia Tech Review Panel (VTRP) on June 18, 2007, to gain a better understanding of the incident and its underlying causes so that steps could be taken to minimize the chances of a similar tragedy happening again. Bush charged Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to convene meetings throughout the country focused on the issues raised by the Virginia Tech tragedy.At a basic level, the physical environment of a K-12 setting is vastly different from that of a college or university setting.