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Cornell Counselor on Virginia Tech Shooting

Greg Eells, director of Cornell's counseling services programs, is interviewed in the Chronicle of Higher Education regarding the Virginia Tech tragedy. It's fairly illuminating as to what universities actually can do in cases like Cho's:

Greg Eells, who directs counseling services at Cornell University, says that he has been watching the news coverage of the shootings and has seen people wonder why people did not heed warning signs from Mr. Cho.

"Is there a profile of people who do this? Of course," says Mr. Eells. "The problem is that there are hundreds of thousands of false positives. We get this all the time."

Many counseling centers, including those at Cornell and Texas A&M, have started proactive programs to reach out to their communities. Texas A&M runs a program that instructs faculty and staff members on how to identify students with serious problems -- and how persuade those students to seek help.

At Cornell, the counseling center has made a special effort to reach out to minority and international students, who suffer from extra levels of stress and are less likely to reach out to counselors. Satellite counseling offices have been set up in buildings on the campus that are regularly used by international and minority students.

Mr. Eells says that some of the problems of this generation are exacerbated by technology, which can be an isolating force in a student's life. "If you are spending three or more hours on Facebook," he says, "you are not spending three hours having pizza, throwing darts, and talking about the meaning of life."

Encourage dart throwing...? But in all seriousness, it seems that the inclusive communities that are developing among West Campus's program houses are exactly the type of community that universities need to offer.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on April 19, 2007 (#)

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