Iowa Governor Chet Culver led a short memorial service today for the Virginia Tech students and faculty killed in Monday’s campus shooting. Culver attended Virginia Tech, and today wore a baseball cap and tie with the school’s logo as he rang Iowa’s Liberty Bell 32 times in honor of each victim.
The Iowa Director of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Kelly O’Conner of Coralville, joined Culver for the ceremony. O’Conner’s voice cracked as she spoke. O’Conner said: "To see the town that I love and cherish so much, has been very difficult. So we greatly appreciate this event to respect and honor all of the students, faculty and staff, Blacksburg residents, and to let them know our hearts truly go out to them." O’Conner graduated from Virgina Tech in 1992 and is a Blacksburg native. The Iowa Memorial Service was part of a statewide day of mourning requested by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.
Governor Culver says he has asked the Iowa Board of Regents to review whether campus police at the three state public universities should be allowed to carry guns. Republicans in the Iowa Senate sent a letter to the Regents Thursday urging them to reconsider their policy of not allowing campus police to carry firearms.
Culver, a Democrat, says it should be a topic of discussion when the time is right. Culver says, "We need a little bit of time here to learn lessons from what happened at Virginia Tech, and then for next fall, have in place any changes in policy." Earlier this week Senate Republicans failed to win enough votes to require campus police officers to carry firearms.
Culver says he’s glad the Legislature had a discussion of the issue, and since there was not a consensus on the best step to take, Culver says the more appropriate place for the discussion is the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents’ next meeting is May 1st in Iowa City.
Regents executive Secretary Gary Steinke issued a statement today that the Regents have already begun a "comprehensive and detailed review of campus security protocols, procedures, technologies and prevention counseling techniques" at the request of the Governor.