Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller, the next NFL defensive star

When the Chicago Bears selected cornerback Kyle Fuller out of Virginia Tech with the 14th overall pick in the NFL Draft, most people were stunned. 

The Bears passed on star safety prospects Haha Clinton-Dix out of Alabama and Calvin Pryor out of Louisville to draft a cornerback when the Bears already had two capable corners, Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Tim Jennings. It seemed Fuller was destined to be a backup, at least for his rookie season.

After Tillman went down in week two with a triceps injury, it was Fuller’s time and his impact was immediate. 

Fuller subbed in for the injured Tillman against the 49ers and intercepted quarterback Colin Kaepernick twice in the fourth quarter, keying the Bears’ victory. The next week, Fuller recorded another interception and forced two fumbles as the Bears beat the New York Jets 27-19.

Kyle Fuller’s impressive performance this season has put him on top of the NFL’s stats sheets as he currently leads the NFL with five turnovers and is tied for first with three interceptions. His performance through the first four games of the season earned him the honor of NFC defensive rookie for the month of September. Fuller however isn’t satisfied.

‘‘That’s a good honor,’’ Fuller said, ‘‘but still, I’m just trying to get better every week.’’ 

Fuller’s performance in October has been just as impressive. Two weeks ago against Carolina, Fuller faced off against the offensive rookie of the month, receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Fuller handled Benjamin with ease, allowing only three receptions for 38 yards on 11 targets. 

On Sunday against the Falcons, Fuller was at it again. He limited Julio Jones, a top-five wide receiver, to only four receptions for 68 receiving yards on 12 total targets. Fuller also forced a fumble on Jones but it was later recovered by the Falcons. 

Now mentored by Tillman, Fuller has adopted the injured Tillman’s aggressive style of play on both coverage assignments and forced fumbles. This includes the “Peanut Punch”, in which Tillman and now Fuller literally punch out footballs out of receiver’s hands at every possible opportunity, leading to a high number of forced fumbles.

Coming from a football family, Kyle Fuller knows what it takes to be a football player in the NFL. Kyle’s oldest brother, Vincent, is a retired safety and his older brother, Corey, is a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions. The youngest Fuller brother, Kendall, is presently playing cornerback for the Virginia Tech Hokies. 

Fuller doesn’t have the outspoken personality like star cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson but has proven to have the same tendency for making big plays. Fuller doesn’t want the lime light that Sherman and Peterson receive. He just wants to play football. 

‘‘I’m just being myself,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m just low key, doing what I’ve got to do and staying out of trouble.’’ 

Kyle Fuller, the soft-spoken cornerback, is taking the NFL by storm and is quietly becoming one of the best defensive players in the league.

No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 25 Georgia

Auburn’s impressive 9-1 record and Georgia’s losing its chance at a championship are two of college football’s biggest surprises this season. The Tigers have a chance at a BCS bowl, an SEC title and are seen as Alabama’s biggest road block on its way to the national championship game. But a loss to the Bulldogs would erase those hopes. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall isn’t as polished as you would expect for a team with a 9-1 record, but he has obviously been doing enough to pull out the wins on both the passing and rushing fronts. Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray is much more efficient, passing for almost twice the yards as Marshall. But this game is Georgia’s last chance to prove itself before its disappointing season ends.

 

Texas Tech vs. No. 4 Baylor

The Bears are looking to creep one game closer to a Big 12 title while the Red Raiders are trying to pull themselves back together to avoid an ugly finish to what was previously a spotless 7-0 season. Baylor is coming off a huge, confidence-booting, 29-point win against Oklahoma, re-igniting its already strong momentum, while the Red Raiders have lost three straight games. Baylor has one of the top offenses in college football led by Heisman hopeful, quarterback Bryce Petty, who’s passed for 2,657 yards and 21 touchdowns. But the freshman quarterback duo of Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb have tag-teamed their way into making Texas Tech the No. 1 passing offense in college football, throwing for a combined 4,082 yards and 24 touchdowns. Expect this to be a high-scoring game.

 

USC vs. No. 5 Stanford

After a demoralizing loss to Notre Dame, USC’s season looked like a lost cause but the Trojans rallied to win three consecutive games and revived their chances at a Pac-12 Championship game appearance. The Cardinal are coming off of a monumental win against Oregon. USC quarterback Cody Kessler has completed 64.3 percent of his passes for 1,977 yards and 12 touchdowns while Stanford’s Kevin Hogan has completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,596 yards and 13 touchdowns. Since Lane Kiffin’s firing, USC has been one of the most consistent teams defensively, but Stanford has proved its defense won’t lie down and let offenses run over them. If Stanford can hold Oregon scoreless for three quarters, USC’s offense shouldn’t present it many problems.

 

Duke vs. No. 23 Miami

Both the Hurricanes and the Blue Devils are 7-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play. Miami had a flawless 7-0 record until Florida State demolished it. The Hurricanes went back to Miami and suffered another tough loss to Virginia Tech. Miami gained 352 total yards against the Hokies but ran for only 28 yards. The Hurricanes muffed a punt, a kickoff, and had a punting miscue in the Virginia Tech game alone. Duke’s season is almost opposite of Miami’s. The Blue Devils started the season off 2-2, but are on fire right now after winning five straight games. Duke still isn’t perfect, though. They will need to control their turnovers to out score an injury-depleted Miami offense.

Texas working against history in its quest for Big 12 title

This year marks the 16th and final season the BCS will be used to decide college football’s national champion.

There have been six conferences – the Big East (now the AAC), ACC, SEC, Big 12, Pac-10 (now Pac-12) and Big 10 – whose champions have automatically earned a BCS bowl berth in the previous 15 seasons. 54 times (out of a possible 90) one of those six automatic-qualifying conferences placed four teams in the BCS standings.

Three of those 54 times, a team won an automatic-qualifying conference despite not being one of at least four teams in its conference included in the BCS standings as late as November – the same situation Texas finds itself in now.

The Longhorns have already accomplished something no other team has: start a season 5-0 in Big 12 play without cracking the Top 25 of the BCS standings. They are close, though. Texas received the most votes among unranked teams in the Associated Press, Harris and USA Today coaches’ polls.

But, if Texas continues its torrid run and wins out, it will win its third conference championship under Mack Brown and become the fourth team to win a BCS automatic-qualifying conference despite being unranked when four other teams from its conference were included in the BCS standings this late in the season.

“This will be the five most exciting weeks in the history of the Big 12,” Brown said. “A lot of people have some huge games coming up that will decide who wins the conference championship.”

The other three – Kansas State (2003), Florida State (2005) and Virginia Tech (2008) – all have interesting stories. And, more importantly for Texas’ case, all have interesting similarities.

 

The stories

Five Big 12 teams (No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 12 Texas, No. 18 Nebraska, No. 19 Oklahoma State, No. 24 Missouri) were ranked in the BCS standings that were released Nov. 1, 2003. Kansas State, who lost three straight games earlier in the year, including its first two games in Big 12 play to Texas and Oklahoma State, was on the outside looking in.

But, after starting the year 4-3, the Wildcats won their last seven games of the year. That streak included a 38-9 whipping of No. 17 Nebraska in Lincoln, which allowed Kansas State to earn a spot in the BCS Top 25 for the first time that year, and a convincing 35-7 win over No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.

The Wildcats didn’t win another conference title until last season but, unlike Florida State in 2005, came out of nowhere to win the Big 12 in 2003.

The Seminoles started the 2005 season 7-1, climbing as high as No. 9 in the BCS standings before falling out of the rankings altogether following a three-game losing streak to NC State, Clemson and Florida. That same week Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College and Georgia Tech were all ranked.

But, since they started the season so well, Florida State still had a season-salvaging opportunity in the ACC Championship the following week and beat Virginia Tech to win the conference. That allowed us to enjoy one of the best bowl in recent memory – Penn State’s 26-23 triple-overtime win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl, the final meeting between Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden.

Three years later, a Virginia Tech team that was unranked in the BCS standings until the final day of November won the ACC. Even then, the eventual conference champion Hokies were just No. 25. North Carolina (No. 19), Georgia Tech (No. 20), Florida State (No. 22) and Maryland (No. 23) were all ranked on the first day of November.

At an unimpressive 6-4, the Hokies needed to win their last two regular season games and for Miami to fall in its regular season finale against NC State to just get into the ACC title game. And that’s precisely what happened. Virginia Tech pummeled Boston College, 30-12, in the ACC Championship, before beating Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl.

 

The similarities

There are three traits each of these three teams share with Texas – a longtime head coach, a lack of an elite passing attack and a particularly stingy defense.

Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Bowden and Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer have spent a collective 95 years as a Division I head football coach, a number that could soon hit 100 since Snyder and Beamer are still coaching. With nearly three decades of head coaching experience under his belt, Texas’ Mack Brown fits right in.

Another stark similarity between these three teams and Texas is that none of them had a great passing game. Ell Roberson had his finest season at Kansas State as a senior in 2003, throwing for 2,545 yards and 24 touchdowns but was also picked off 12 times and completed only 51.7 percent of his passes. Because he could run the ball so well (2,007 rushing yards over his last two years at Kansas State), it didn’t matter as much.

Florida State won the ACC in 2005 despite having a quarterback in Drew Weatherford that threw as many touchdown passes as interceptions (18). In the Seminoles’ eight wins that year, Weatherford had 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions but threw only four touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in his team’s five losses.

Virginia Tech won the ACC in 2008 despite getting only six touchdown passes all year – three from Sean Glennon, two from Tyrod Taylor and one from third-stringer Cory Holt.

Like Texas, Virginia Tech in 2008 and Kansas State in 2003 relied heavily on its running game. Both the ’08 Hokies and ’03 Wildcats ran it about twice as many times as they threw it, an offensive approach similar to the one Brown and co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite have adopted – run the ball, run the ball the some more and utilize play-action to take the occasional shot downfield.

“It’s just the way we have to be built to win games right now,” Applewhite said. “That’s what we are going to have to do and a lot of it has to do with quarterback depth. When you have a lot of depth or a lot of experience in that position, the last thing you want to do is find out how inexperienced you are.”

Deep at just about every spot, Applewhite is right. Since David Ash’s head injury against Kansas State, his second of the year, has kept him out for the last four games, Texas has leaned on senior Case McCoy. His backup Tyrone Swoopes is far from being a polished passer and McCoy, while the Longhorns are rallying around him, is not a top-notch quarterback himself.

The third thing the three aforementioned squads and this year’s Texas team have in common is a fierce and productive defense. ’03 Kansas State, ’05 Florida State and ’08 Virginia Tech were all in the Top 15 when it came to total defense.

In non-conference play, the Longhorns are No. 116 in total defense this year. But, thanks to new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, they are No. 17 in total defense in conference play – an impressive feat considering the offensive juggernaut of a conference Texas is in.

“There’s a confidence developing,” Robinson said. “Our fundamental techniques are starting to look cleaner. You never want to take that for granted, but my mind is that if we just keep working, we’re going to continue to improve because I think we have some very good football players. I think that, as they continue to work, they’re going to get even better.”

With that said, Texas has yet to face either of the Big 12’s three highest-scoring offenses – Baylor (63.9, most in the FBS), Oklahoma State (40.5) and Texas Tech (39.1). The Longhorns still have a long ways to go and are trying to pull off a feat few have accomplished before, but, as Kansas State proved in 2003, Florida State in 2005 and Virginia Tech in 2008, it’s not an impossible task. 

Wild Nothing, a Brooklyn band, began as the musical project of Jack Tatum while he was in college at Virginia Tech. He’s since put out two albums and two EPs of dream pop greatness, including Empty Estate that came out in May on Captured Tracks. At Austin City Limits music festival, The Daily Texan sat down with Tatum to talk about the new EP and touring nonstop.

 

The Daily Texan: How do you like being back in Austin?

Jack Tatum: It’s great, man. We got in late last night and got here at 8 in the morning, so we haven’t seen much of Austin yet. I do always enjoy coming here. 

 

DT: You released Nocturne last year, spent all year touring, and just put out Empty Estate in May. Do you ever take a break? 

JT: Yeah, yeah I do. It might not seem like it, but we’ve had a couple pretty good breaks this year. It’s true, we have been touring a lot, so that sort of becomes your norm, which is strange in a way. I feel, at this point, that I’ve been touring with this band so long that the idea of being stationary seems so foreign and really appealing right now. We’re about to take a pretty good break from playing shows and hopefully I’ll just work on music and do other projects.

 

DT: What other projects?

JT: I don’t know. I’d love to try and play music with other people, whatever that might mean. Whether that’s playing with another band or writing songs for other people is something I’m interested in. There’s producing too. I’ve always been interested in production and trying to step into that. 

 

DT: On Empty Estate, there are a couple of instrumentals there that are really cool. Is that a direction you want to take Wild Nothing?

JT: Usually when I’m making music I’m not too concerned about the trajectory of it or what it might mean. For me, it was just something I was interested in doing at the time. The best thing about that EP for me was that it just felt very natural and happened very quickly. It really was just a matter of me coming up with these song ideas, recording them and handing them to the label all within a matter of a month and a half or something. It’s a really good feeling because there’s not that drawn out process that happens when making a record, which is kind of how Nocturne was. I spent practically a year writing a lot of those songs. It was kind of strange that at the time when your album comes out that some of those songs are a year old. It’s funny but that’s just the way it goes, I guess. 

 

DT: Do you have any plans for another album coming soon?

JT: I’m always working on music, and especially after being on a long tour like this. This has been about five weeks once we get back home. It’s always a good creative inspiration, being on the road, with a lot of experiences to pull from. Also because I feel like I’m not able to make a lot of music on the road, I feel that when I come home I have this well of creativity to pull from. I don’t have any plans necessarily but imagine it will only be a matter of time before I’m back writing songs and recording. 

 

DT: You’re playing a show tonight with Autre Ne Veut. What is it like playing a show at 11 a.m. and then again at midnight the same day?

JT: It’s weird. We haven’t done something like this in a while, but we’re not strangers to it. We’ve done it before. A couple of years ago at CMJ we had to do a ton of shows in a short period of time. We’ve actually never played South By Southwest, but you hear from so many bands that play that it’s a total clusterfuck. 

 

DT: I know Bleached played like 13 shows once there.

JT: I can’t imagine. I’m so glad I’ve never had to do that, to be honest. I’m actually really excited for the show tonight. I prefer to play club shows. 

 

DT: I think your music’s more suited for those types of shows.

JT: I think so, too.

 

DT: Are you friends with Autre Ne Veut?

JT: I haven’t met him, but I actually know Al Carlson who I think worked on his record. [Al] produced and helped me produce and record Empty Estate, but no I haven’t met [Autre Ne Veut]. I’m excited for it. It should be cool. 

 

DT: What has been your favorite album of 2013?

JT: Shoot, I don’t know. It’s really hard to say. Of new things that have come out this year, there’s this song by Ariel Pink that was really good. I was just thinking about this the other day because someone asked me the same thing and I blanked. It’s not because I don’t care what’s going on but it’s easy to get out of the loop when you’re constantly touring so I’m not super up on what records came out this year, so I can’t remember. There was the new My Bloody Valentine record of course, which was always great. 

 

Catch Wild Nothing Friday, Oct. 11 on the Samsung Galaxy Stage at 11:15 a.m. 

New Mexico State at Texas (-42)

Texas is going to win, but by 42 points? The Longhorns have gotten off to slow starts in season openers the last couple of years, beating a subpar Wyoming team by only 20 points a year ago. They haven’t won a season opener by this large of a margin since 2008. David Ash and Co. need a little time to shake off the rust from the offseason. Texas easily gets the win, but the Aggies cover the spread.

 

Lock of the Week

Alabama (-20) vs. Virginia Tech

Its tough nailing down a lock in Week 1, but Alabama is always a safe bet to get off to a quick start. Last season in their opening game they demolished a much better Michigan team, 41-14, en route to their second straight national championship and third in four years. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Hokies, who are no longer the college football power they once were. Frank Beamer’s squad finished last season 7-6 and three of those wins came in overtime. Expect Alabama to continue their dominance.

 

Upset Alert

Penn State vs. Syracuse (+8) 

The Orange lost their quarterback (Ryan Nassib) to the New York Giants and their head coach (Doug Marrone) to the Buffalo Bills. But new head coach Scott Shafer will keep the defensive intensity high for a budding Syracuse team that finished last season with a dominating 38-14 victory over West Virginia and Geno Smith in the Pinstripe Bowl. Penn State, still feeling the effects of the historic punishments levied by the NCAA, has yet to even name a starting quarterback for Saturday. The Nittany Lions started last year in a rut as well, being upset by Ohio and Virginia in the first two weeks of the 2012 season. Syracuse is poised to pull an upset.

Stat Guy: Bergeron stacks up well with other backups

Texas true freshman Joe Bergeron’s 191 yard three touchdown performance on Saturday was one of the best games by a Texas backup or for that matter a backup in NCAA history.
Texas true freshman Joe Bergeron’s 191 yard three touchdown performance on Saturday was one of the best games by a Texas backup or for that matter a backup in NCAA history.

Texas running back Joe Bergeron’s 191-yard, three-touchdown performance certainly solidified his place in the Longhorns’ offensive rotation, as evidenced by him being named a co-starter at tailback alongside Fozzy Whittaker for the Missouri game this Saturday.

It’s not often that backup running backs get to showcase their talent — even when they do, the game is usually already decided. But with Malcolm Brown sidelined for the Texas Tech game with turf toe, Bergeron got an opportunity, put the Texas offense on his back and turned in a game for the ages. How does that performance stack up against past second-string running backs in college football? Let’s take a look at — what else? — the stats.

Former TCU and current New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson split time with Basil Mitchell in the ’97 and ’98 seasons posting respectable numbers. When Tomlinson got his chance to start a game in 1999, he rushed for a single-game NCAA record 406 yards versus UTEP. Tomlinson carried the ball 43 times and registered six touchdowns in his record-breaking performance.

In 2001, Auburn running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams entered the season as the No. 3 option on the depth chart. Similar to Bergeron, Williams got a chance to start the eighth game of the season against Arkansas. Williams carried the ball 19 times for 177 yards and one touchdown. Cadillac went on to becoming one of the most prolific running backs in Auburn history, rushing for 3,831 yards and 45 touchdowns.

In 2005, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden entered his freshman season third on the roster behind senior De’Arrius Howard and sophomore Peyton Hillis. After McFadden carried the ball 31 times for 190 yards versus Georgia, he never relinquished the starting role at Arkansas. McFadden finished his career with 4,590 yards, second-most in SEC conference history (Hershel Walker, 5,259 yards).

Also in 2005, Texas running back Jamaal Charles got his first career start in the Longhorns third game versus Rice. Charles rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns in Texas’ 51-10 victory. Charles ended his career as the fourth-leading rusher in school history with 3,328 yards.

And recently, in 2009, Virginia Tech’s Ryan Williams took over for an injured Darren Evans and posted sensational numbers: 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Bergeron’s performance against the Red Raiders on Saturday is similar to many great college running backs first performances. With Malcolm Brown still hobbling, Bergeron has a great opportunity to solidify himself as the go-to-guy the rest of the season. 

Printed on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 as: Bergeron's day stacks up with greats

Law enforcement searching for gunman on Virginia Tech campus

Police at Virginia Tech are investigating reports of an armed man on campus.

Three young people attending a summer camp at the university said they saw a man carrying what looked like a covered gun at 9:09 a.m. EST, according to a statement on the university’s website.

Virginia Tech police said at 9:45 a.m. CST they were still looking for the alleged gunman.

The man was seen outside the New Residence Hall East and headed toward the volleyball courts at a fast pace. Law enforcement from the Virginia Tech Police Department, the Blacksburg Police Department, the Christiansburg Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office are patrolling the area.

In a televised news conference, the Virginia Tech police chief said they had questioned people in the area but had nobody in custody.

An update on the Virginia Tech website at 11:51 a.m. EST reported that, while police were still searching the area, they had not found anyone matching the description and there have been no other sightings.

In 2007, Virginia Tech became the site of the worst school shooting in history when an armed student shot and killed 32 people before taking his own life.

Theater and dance students Josephine McAdam and Emma Dirks embrace during the Virginia Tech commemoration Monday morning. In honor of the 2007 shooting at the Virgina Tech campus, theater and dance students performed 27 monologues simultaneously from “What a Stranger May Know”.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

The UT community remembered the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre Monday with a theatrical memorial that schools around the country also performed.

UT commemorated the shooting by having theatre and dance students come together to perform “What a Stranger May Know,” a dedication to those who died, by Erik Ehn on the South Mall.

Each participant represented a victim that lost his or her life, and only 27 monologues were performed out of respect to the families who requested their loved ones not be a part of tribute, journalism and theatre and dance junior Isaac Gomez said. The monologues, which groups across the U.S. at schools including Brown University, UT-Arlington and Whittier College performed simultaneously, took place between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. to coincide with the time when the attacks occurred.The Virginia Tech massacre was the deadliest attack by a single gunman in the history of the U.S., which ended when perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho died by suicide after killing 32 people and wounding 25 others.

This commemoration piece is an act Ehn wrote to be performed outdoors, Gomez said. Audience members and performers who serve as “witnesses” are able to walk through other performances until the ending moments when the ensemble congregated at the steps of the main lawn and stood in silence as they extinguished their candles.

“It’s not just important that this performance took place on campus, but all over the world,” Gomez said. “For UT’s rendition, the monologues were performed in various spots around South Mall because the space is inherently performative for this kind of thing, and we cannot forget the shooting that occurred on our very own campus [in 1966] on that location.”

In 1966, UT student Charles Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 32 others in a shooting rampage primarily in and around the UT Tower.

He said this was the first year the shooting was honored through this performance and he felt honored to have used Ehn’s work to remember the victims.

“Through ‘What a Stranger May Know,’ Ehn challenges the idea of ‘what is civic mourning’ and how we come together as a community to commemorate an event when we are so disconnected by it,” Gomez said.

Theater and dance sophomore Marissa Forsyth said she was a last minute addition to the cast, and after reading the monologue of one of the victims she immediately felt the meaning behind the text.

“The Virginia Tech massacre was an event that I had heard about when it happened and nothing more,” Forsyth said. “Being a part of this performance reminded all of us how valuable life is, and it allowed us to do something great for the victims and their families.”

Felicia Fitzpatrick, ethnic studies and theatre and dance sophomore, said she hoped the community remembered the significance of the tragedy.

“There are times where we think we have forever, but the kids involved in this tragedy were our age,” Fitzpatrick said. “While this happened far away from us, there is a huge relevance to our generation and we need to appreciate the time we have with our friends and loved ones.”

Printed on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 as: Actors remember massacre

While I thank Nick Roland for his service to our country, it’s entirely misguided and inappropriate for him to use the fifth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings to espouse a pro-guns-on-campus line in his firing line published Monday. His two institutions, Virginia Tech and UT, have been the scenes of some of the most violent mass shootings on college campuses in this country.

Proponents of guns on campus think that their ability to “come to the rescue” is valiant, but it disguises the real issue. I think back to the incident of Sept. 28, 2010. Imagine if we had a campus full of armed students trying to take out Colton Tooley. What would have happened when armed police officers, knowing that there was an active shooter, had come across Roland or some other student “taking out” the real gunman? An even greater tragedy.

Leave the policing to the police, and keep guns off this campus.

Michael Redding
Graduate Student Assembly president
Texas Student Media contract employee

I recently opened my email to discover that UT has been declared a tobacco-free campus. While this finger-waving policy will and should generate some controversy, I was most struck by the following statement enclosed in the message: “The institution is enthusiastic about taking another step toward creating the healthiest environment possible for those who work, study and visit here.” Why then does the leadership of this University refuse to allow students to fully exercise their right to self-defense?

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the worst campus shooting in American history. As a graduate of the Virginia Tech Class of 2007, I will never forget the emotions I experienced that day and in the following months upon learning that 32 of my fellow Hokies, including one who lived right down the hall from me, had been killed in their classrooms as they sat in what they assumed was a safe environment. Virginia Tech did not and still does not allow possession of weapons on its campus by students, faculty or staff. I acknowledge that allowing concealed carry on campus would not necessarily have prevented these murders — but why the insistence that students not be allowed to exercise a full range of means to protect themselves from physical violence?

In the event something like this was to happen in my own presence, the University’s current policy requires that I, an Army Infantry Officer with a concealed handgun permit, hide, run away or watch my fellow students be murdered or victimized. This University’s own history, as well as the occasional email alert regarding another mugging, sexual assault or murder on or near campus, stands as a witness to the failure of efforts to stop violence through disarming non-violent young people. I urge my fellow students to refuse to be a victim, support concealed carry on campus and demand their full rights as American citizens.

Nick Roland, History graduate student
Virginia Tech Class of 2007