Virginia Tech: 'As Strong a Place as It Has Always Been'


This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

Classes began again at Virginia Tech on Monday, one week after the shootings by a student. Seung-Hui Cho, an English major in his final year of college, killed thirty-two people. He also took his own life.

University officials were criticized for not acting more quickly to warn of the danger of a gunman. School administrators across the country are re-examining their security policies and communications systems. But they say privacy laws restrict how they can deal with mentally troubled people, even if there are warning signs of possible violence.

Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, is a public university that has gained greater recognition in recent years. Its engineering and computer science programs, for example, are known internationally.

Seven percent of the students at Virginia Tech are international students. The Cranwell International Center at the university says there are about two thousand foreign students this year. They come from more than one hundred countries. But most are graduate students from India, China and South Korea.

Jacqueline Nottingham is the Graduate School director of admissions and academic progress. She says more than four thousand foreign students applied to the Graduate School for the term beginning in August. More than three thousand of those applications were for the College of Engineering.

She says she has not seen any evidence that foreign students are rejecting admission offers because of the tragedy. She says Virginia Tech is, in her words, "as strong a place as it has always been."

Graduate applications are accepted until May fifteenth. As of Wednesday, Jacqueline Nottingham said six hundred sixty-nine international students had been offered admission. Just over forty percent of them have already accepted the offers.

Norrine Bailey Spencer is the associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions. She says she has received e-mails and notes from some students who say they want to be part of Virginia Tech now more than ever.

More than three hundred international students have been offered undergraduate admission this coming fall. In the United States, undergraduates traditionally have until May first to accept or reject an offer from a college.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. This and other reports in our Foreign Student Series can be found online at WWW.51VOA.COM. I'm Steve Ember.