April 24, 2007
University of Virginia students, hearing the sirens and seeing police officers with guns drawn, said the university should have done more to tell them what was going on late Monday night.
One student suffered a panic attack while others barricaded themselves in their rooms. Fearing the worst, many said they wished there was some official communication from the school.
Students who saw the drama unfold before their eyes believed there might be a gunman on campus. They had no idea it was students filming a movie.
Two students were so scared locked themselves in their dorm telling 911 operators they would not answer the door unless police used a special knock. Others said an RA told them to stay in their rooms.
“She started closing all the blinds and she said she got a call from another RA and that we should stay in our rooms because something was going on,” said Sarah Zuckoff.
But then no one told them it was safe to come back out.
“She said the police were starting to leave but she really didn't give us any more information than that,” said Zuckoff.
One student was so scared she suffered an anxiety attack and was transported to the hospital.
University officials on the scene said they made sure everyone was okay, but students said they wished the university had told them more.
“I would expect that if something were to happen they would email us right away,” said UVa student Margaret Long.
“We turned on our computers and the TV news to see if something was actually going on,” said Zuckoff.
“In light of the Virginia Tech [massacre], an e-mail sent out by the dean office would have been good to explain this whole situation,” said student Quang Nguin.
Students said they never received an e-mail, and one learned about the incident from the morning newspaper.
“I accidentally went onto the Cav Daily website and saw this posting was on and I was kind of shocked by it,” said Nguin.
The university said they talked to students at the scene and felt like the situation was quickly under control, so it wasn't necessary to inform all the students with an e-mail.
The students and the university also said they felt like the police handled the situation carefully and thoroughly.