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friday february 22, 2008 blacksburg, va.

news TECH ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY PLANS FOR APRIL 16 Virginia Tech announced schedule of events for April 16. There will be two main events happening on the Drillfield. First, from 10:30 a.m. to noon there will be a university-wide commemoration ceremony, where special memories of all 32 victims will be read aloud. Second, at sundown, a candlelight vigil will be held. The event will begin with students lighting their candles from a candle that will be lit the whole day. Both of these events will occur rain or shine. Throughout the afternoon there will be small venues throughout campus where individuals may give poetry readings, music performances, or other artistic methods of expressing their emotions. More details on these events will be announced as they are scheduled. The university will not hold classes on April 16, but will be open. More information and updated schedules can be found at

TECH COMMENTS ON HIT AND RUN Virginia Tech has offered a brief statement on the arrest and charge of history professor Peter Wallenstein. “Any actions taken by the university regarding this case would be governed by the university’s faculty handbook,” university spokesman Mark Owczarski wrote in an e-mail. “If any action were taken, it would be governed by normal employee privacy practices. “ According to Tech police, Wallenstein was driving on West Campus Drive Feb. 19 when he turned onto Perry Street and collided with a bicyclist crossing at a Perry Street crosswalk. Police reported that emergency personnel responded, but there was no transport of the victim, who was treated on scene. The identity of the cyclist has not been released.

Norris survivor suggests student defense classes


ct news reporter


Erin Sheehan, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, survived the shootings in Norris Hall last spring. Because of her experience in the building during the shootings, she is proposing a class to teach students self-defense.


ct campus life editor On April 16, 2007, then freshman Erin Sheehan went to her elementary German class in 207 Norris Hall as on every other Tuesday and Thursday. Though several people were killed in her classroom that day, Sheehan survived because she ducked under a desk while Seung-Hui Cho shot at her classmates and professor. Because of her experiences in the building, Sheehan is now suggesting that a class on defense tactics be taught at a high school level to inform students of what to do in an emergency situation in the classroom. “In the last eight months I have been trying to deal with my post-traumatic stress disorder to the best of my capability, but with that said, every time I enter a classroom, lecture hall, or almost any room on campus I mentally design a plan for what I would do in every emergency situation I can imagine,” Sheehan, now a sophomore mechanical engineering major, wrote in a letter to the editor to the Collegiate Times. Sheehan also wrote that she cannot blame anyone in her classroom for not taking action against Cho when he entered the classroom, but if there had been two or three individuals properly trained, she believes the casualties would have been significantly lower. In an interview with the CT, Sheehan explained her idea of having defense tactic classes “instead of, or in addition to, a high school gym.” She also thinks that high schools should integrate martial arts into their system. “I was just thinking a high school program that would teach you self-defense classes — basically what a woman’s self-defense program teaches — teaching basic holds, or what would happen if there was someone with a gun,” Sheehan said. “There is basic training in the military where you can be trained to take a gun away from an

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corrections If you see something in today’s paper that needs to be corrected, please e-mail our public editor at, or call 540.231.9865.

coming up TUESDAY’S CT Read how the men’s basketball team and the women’s lacrosse team fare this weekend in Tuesday’s CT. Check out a video of the flash mob held on the Drillfield yesterday on our Web site.

index News.....................2 Features................3 0pinions................5

Sports....................7 Classifieds..............9 Sudoku..................9

An independent, student-run newspaper serving the Virginia Tech community since 1903 105th year • issue 24

attacker, so something like that.” Barry Trent, coordinator for health and physical education for Roanoke County Schools, said that he didn’t think it would be a bad idea to teach defense and martial arts classes in high school, but not in place of P.E. classes. “The hurdle would be getting instructors that are certi-

“In my German class, the door wouldn’t close and someone had to get a piece of furniture to block it.” — Erin Sheehan

Though student-athletes’ success is frequently measured solely by their performances in sporting events, academic officials nationwide have begun to argue that there is not enough emphasis placed on education. Chris Helms, director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services, said Virginia Tech’s policies for student-athletes is such that receiving an education is much more important than winning on the playing field. “(Academics) are primary,” Helms said. “Without that you have a situation where you are setting a student up for failure. The focus needs to be the academic situation first.” Though Tech’s recruiting procedure seeks out the most talented athletes available, Helms noted that academics play a significant role in the recruiting process. The coaches will first meet with the student prospects and determine what their academic backgrounds are, and also what they are likely to be interested in studying once they attend the university. Coaches also look to make sure that the university offers the academic discipline desired. Furthermore, athletes have the opportunity to get a feel for the campus before committing. Jim Weaver, athletic director, said the faculty does play a role in the recruiting process. “The faculty involvement in the recruiting process occurs when young people come for official visits,” Weaver said. “Our coaches try to have academic meetings with different faculty members. They give the student an opportunity to talk to their department so they can

see ATHLETES, page two

University improving on diversity, still faces problems

fied,” Trent said. Trent also said that a concern would be students in direct contact with other students. He said that they used to teach wrestling in P.E. classes, but had to stop because of student contact concerns. Geof Allen, officer in the community outreach unit of the Virginia Tech Police Department, said defense tactics are part of the training necessary to get into the police department and the student police academy. He said that the training for police officers includes martial arts combined with ground fighting. “Law enforcement is trained in defense; the issue with

see DEFENSE, page two


ct news reporter

Visas becoming easier to obtain for students KERRY O’CONNOR


University stresses athletes’ education

ct news reporter Traveling to Tech to teach or study may become increasingly easy for international students and teachers courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives. On Feb. 7, the House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held a hearing discussing recommendations to ease the visa procedure for students and researchers who wish to study in the U.S. Foreign students have been studying at American institutions with temporary visas since the Immigration Act of 1924. Acquiring a visa now, however, can often be a very daunting experience. The lengthy procedure is the result of high-security precautions enacted in the U.S. following Sept. 11, 2001. “It is important that we review how the barriers we have created since 9/ 11 are impacting legitimate students and scholars who want to come to this country to study and scholars who want to come here for research collaborations or conferences,” stated Brian Baird (D-WA), chairman of the subcommittee, in a press release. “We must also examine what we are doing, or should be doing, to reduce those barriers.” According to a study conducted by the Institute of International Education, foreign student enrollment in the U.S. is once again increasing and jumped 3.2 percent from 2005-2006 to 2006-2007. Currently, Virginia Tech has about 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students studying from foreign countries.

“I think it’s important for Tech to have international students and scholars because we survive in a global community,” said Kim Beisecker, director of Tech’s Cranwell International Center. “It’s important for the community to begin to learn and study in a multinational environment.” Beisecker said approximately 50 percent of international students who are admitted into American universities are not granted a visa. She said this has presently caused the U.S. to lose the global student competition with countries such as Great Britain and Australia. Alisha Prather, communications director for the U.S. Committee on Science and Technology, said the hearing heard presentations from different people representing government and education sectors who lent the subcommittee their expertise and experiences with the visa process. During the hearing, subcommittee members and presenters talked about the biggest problems currently facing the visa process: renewing and reissuing visas. Beisecker explained that a visa is something that allows you to enter the U.S., relating it to a movie entrance ticket. Once you enter, you stay in an F-1 or J-1 status, allowing students to stay and study. If a student wanted to leave the country for any reason and come back, they would have to go back through their native country and acquire another visa. Another issue blocking improvements in the visa process is that sometimes visa problems are misconstrued as immigration problems, which has become a very heated subject in politics.

Although the number of ethnically diverse students and faculty is not as high at Virginia Tech as some would like, the numbers do correlate.

ON THE WEB DATABASE: Check out Tech’s faculty ethnicity breakdown on our Web site —just click on the database tab. Out of 27,572 students, 19,092, or 69.1 percent, are white. Of the 3061 total instructional faculty, 77.62 percent represents the number of white faculty members. This figure shows the most discrepancy. Of all students at Tech, 4.6 percent are black, while 4.57 percent of instructors are black. Of the faculty members, 6.31 percent are Asian, while 6.5 percent of students are Asian. As for the Hispanic population, 2.4 percent of students fit that description, compared with 1.93 percent of faculty. Native American students make up 0.3 percent of Tech students, compared with 0.39 percent of instructors. But the parallel may only be prevalent in the statistics. Associate Provost for Academic Administration Patricia Hyer said it would be fairly easy for a Tech student to never be taught by a black faculty member, for example. Among the 1,382 tenured and tenure-track instructional faculty, only 44 are black, a number that cannot spread evenly throughout Tech’s 75 academic departments.

see DIVERSITY, page two Diversity of students and faculty at Virginia Tech


Junior communication majors Whitney Brown, Katy Grant and Rebecca Thomas discuss study abroad plans to Riva San Vitale. Experts agree that easing the visa process is necessary to attract educated foreign people to raise the intellectual and scientific progress in the U.S.

“In addition to improving our standing and reputation in the world, foreign students help fill the talent pools that fuel innovation and keep the U.S. competitive,” Baird said.

total students white students black students Asian students Hispanic students Native American students total faculty white faculty black faculty Asian faculty Hispanic faculty Native American faculty

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27,572 students 69.1 percent 4.6 percent 6.5 percent 2.4 percent 0.3 percent 3061 faculty 77.62 percent 4.57 percent 6.31 percent 1.93 percent 0.39 percent BEN MACDONALD/COLLEGIATE TIMES

Friday, February 22, 2008 Print Edition  

Friday, February 22, 2008 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times

Friday, February 22, 2008 Print Edition  

Friday, February 22, 2008 Print Edition of The Collegiate Times