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Statement from the Oregon University System on Virginia Tech Tragedy

Contact: Di Saunders – Office, 503-725-5714; Cell, 503-219-6869

PORTLAND, April 16, 2007 – On behalf of the State Board of Higher Education and the Oregon University System, Chancellor George Pernsteiner today expressed his concern and sympathy for the students, faculty, staff, families and campus community at Virginia Tech for the tragic shootings which occurred this morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible incident at Virginia Tech,” said Pernsteiner. “When incidents such as this occur, it naturally raises concerns for everyone about the safety of students in our own schools and educational institutions. The Oregon University System campuses are organizing counseling services for our own students who may need support today and in the upcoming weeks, and working with local public safety partners to address campus and individual concerns. Each campus has in place emergency preparedness plans for student and campus community safety in the event of any type of crisis. We will continue to monitor the information from local authorities in Virginia reporting about the incident, so that we can use it to help review our own tactical and readiness plans to ensure the utmost preparedness for any incident that may put our students or communities at risk.”

Pernsteiner noted that public safety agencies and educational institutions continue to participate with their community partners to encourage the prompt reporting of suspicious activity or information regarding on campus concerns that students and staff may have.  “Our public safety partners remind us that everyone should work together, whether in our communities or on our campuses, to prevent these horrific incidents from happening, including reporting any information regarding planned acts of violence which students, campus community members, or the public may learn about.”

Law enforcement agencies train and plan for tactical responses to these types of incidents in Oregon’s schools and on its campuses.  For example, training and planning for a tactical response at the Oregon State University campus has been completed; this planning involves the Oregon State Police (OSP) University Area Command, OSP SWAT Team, Corvallis Police Department and other law enforcement. The University of Oregon also recently participated in a tactical response exercise with local law enforcement.

Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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