Heroic Professors and Students

Thank you to Pandagon for this roundup.

From Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram:

Kevin P. Granata, a professor of biomechanics, was working in his office, where he had developed some the country’s most advanced thinking on movement dynamics and cerebral palsy. And down on the first floor, his brother-in-law, Michael Diersing, whose wife was the identical twin sister of Granata’s wife, was chatting and checking e-mail alongside Granata’s doctoral assistant, Gregory Slota… Granata had heard the commotion in his third-floor office and ran downstairs. He was a military veteran, very protective of his students. He was gunned down trying to confront the shooter.

From the Indy Star:

Paul Granata said details are still fuzzy, but family members who traveled to the school were told Kevin Granata went to his office early to work on research and heard the shots being fired. He had an office near the shooting rampage.
“I was told he came out of his office to see what was going on and he was trying to help people,” Paul Granata said. “Unfortunately, in the process of trying to help people, he was shot.”

From the Washington Post:

[W]hen the gunshots rang out on the second floor, Granata, a military veteran, was in his office on the third floor. He walked out and across the hall to a classroom, where 20 frightened students were wondering what to do. He directed them into his office, where he ushered them to safety — in close quarters but behind the locked doors. Then, aware that other students might be in danger on the second floor, he and another professor, Wally Grant, went downstairs to investigate, Slota said.

Cho spotted them and shot them both. Grant was wounded but survived; Granata was killed. If the students in the classroom had tried to run out, they would have confronted the killer, too, Slota said.

“All those in that class, they all made it,” Slota said. “They were locked up until the police came. [Granata] couldn’t sit around and do nothing. He had to help out, find out what was going on.”

And then of course there’s the gallantry of Engineering professor Liviu Librescu, already much noted in the media coverage, but here’s a little detail I hadn’t seen before, from the Gulf News:

With bursts of gunfire rattling through the second floor of Norris Hall, Librescu, 76, closed his classroom door and urged his students to escape out the windows, recalled senior Caroline Merrey of Baltimore, the third student to jump.

As they fled, Librescu held the door shut with his body as the gunman, 23-year-old senior Cho Seung-Hui, tried to force his way in. Moments after the last student leapt to safety, Cho apparently succeeded in forcing the door open and shot Librescu to death.


Kace said...

I have wondered what I would do in that situation since Monday. I'd like to think that I would do the same, but I honestly don't know. And I feel guilty and embarassed for admitting as much.

I cannot believe that those right-wing freak-shows are criticizing others' behavior.

BGSU English said...

Hi Andy,

A little off-topic, and I apologize. But your friends at BGSu's English Dept have a new blog; it's in the beta testing stage right now, but check it out and let us know what you think. Suggestions always welcome.