Protect the Campus or the Students' Rights?

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The revelations of the Virginia Tech shooter's clear history of mental health problems is renewing the debate over how universities can keep their campuses safe while respecting the rights of individual students, the University of North Carolina Daily Tar Heel reports. "Schools walk a real fine line," Johnne Armentrout, assistant director of counseling services at Wake Forest University, tells the Tar Heel. "The tricky thing is that they face lawsuits on both sides, either from not doing enough or from violating their students' privacy rights."

According to the story, federal law prohibits colleges from disclosing a student's psychological state to anyone without a waiver from the student or the belief that the student poses immediate danger to himself or others. But there's no easy way to tell when a troubled mind will snap. "There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in this country who might present with similar warning signs [as Cho] but never go on to commit an act like this, and that's the really tricky part," says Robert Murphy, executive director of the Center for Child and Family Health, a joint venture between UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, and N.C. Central universities. --Kenneth Terrell