College Life, One Year After Virginia Tech

Gun control, campus security, and mental health awareness have become key campus topics.

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It's been a year since the Virginia Tech shooting, and three themes dominate the anniversary coverage.

1. Gun control: Seeming to defy logic, Virginia Tech and other recent mass shootings have emboldened both sides of the gun control debate. Gun control advocates blame an out-of-control gun culture for the shootings, while groups like Students For Concealed Carry on Campus say more guns on campus would deter killers and protect students.

2. Campus security: We've already talked about the proliferation of text message alerts, but schools have also boosted training of police officers, held emergency drills, and installed sirens on some campuses.

3. Mental health: Schools have started paying closer attention to their mental health responsiveness. Universities have moved to better train their professors to spot troubled students, while their counseling facilities are inundated with increasing numbers of students—a trend that is encouraging but also taxing. "We've seen about a 10 percent increase in students coming in every year," said the director of Iowa State's counseling services. "Unfortunately, we don't have a 10 percent increase in staff every year."

In Virginia, Gov. Tim Kaine last week signed multiple bills that address mental health treatment in the state. "Working with members of the General Assembly, we will make significant investments in our mental health system, and the bills before me today will establish standards for the system and increase accountability."