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VSU responds to campus violence after shooting

The issue of gun violence on campuses was pushed back to the forefront after a professor at University of Alabama-Huntsville allegedly opened fire on fellow faculty members on Friday, Feb. 12. The tragedy sent shockwaves to campuses across the U.S., including VSU.
Three professors were killed, two were critically injured, and a sixth was treated and released from the hospital in Huntsville on Saturday, after Dr. Amy Bishop, professor of biology, allegedly shot coworkers during a routine staff meeting that afternoon, according to an article in the Huntsville Times.
Dr. Bishop was charged with capital murder, according to the Times.
Dr. Bishop has a history of violence and was charged with assault in 2002, and authorities say she should have been charged with the murder of her brother in 1986, according to the Times.
Dr. Bishop had been denied tenure last April. Six months later she attempted to repeal the ruling. The repeal was also denied. Media across the nation have attributed this loss to Dr. Bishop’s reasons for the alleged shootings.
Teachers are given or denied tenure in January at VSU. Similar to UAH, professors denied tenure are still allowed to complete the rest of the school year. It’s painful but most can move on. It’s not something taken lightly. Tenure is representative of lifetime employment. When teachers are denied tenure, they’re basically fired, said Dr. James LaPlant, professor of political science and associate dean of arts and sciences.
When fired in other places, people are told to pack up and are escorted out of the building that day. At university the professor has to stay till the end of the year and the anger from not making tenure could be allowed to fester. That’s what seemed to have happened here, LaPlant said.
“We like to think institutions of higher education are immune, especially with faculty. But we’re hardly immune to ravages of gun violence,” Dr. LaPlant said.
Ashley McGee, biology professor, while finding the situation tragic, understands the pressures professors are under.
“The one day of pay cut a month does not seem like too much, but over a year that cut really does add up,” McGee said. “Everyone has to give up things in order to save money and the possibility of losing a job could be devastating.”
Mike Laurita, freshman, finds this situation to serve as a reminder of the capabilities of some people. “This incident has raised my awareness that there are many people out there who are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want,” Laurita said.
Laurita plans to treat his professors and other students with a little more sensitivity. “I believe I may be a little more cautious of both my professors and fellow students,” Laurita said. “No one has given me a reason to not trust either of them, and until someone does I will continue about my days in the same ways I have always done.”
The thing to remember is that school shootings are random acts of violence, about as likely as being struck by lightning said LaPlant.
Many of those interviewed about the incident want to say that if faculty member had been armed then they could have responded. But we have this romanticized concept of guns, partly because of Hollywood said LaPlant.
Guns are not the solution to that type of situation. Guns can result in fatality. Being armed doesn’t mean that the person will be able to protect himself/herself. Introducing concealed weapons into an agitated situation makes the police’s job harder not easier said LaPlant.

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