The 10 Most Violent Acts Committed on a College Campus

The rate of violent crimes on college campuses in America is increasing. Some attribute this unfortunate phenomenon to the drinking culture common to college campuses, while some blame drugs, stress, unaddressed mental illness, or a combination of all three. Whatever the reason, the college campus has become a regular setting for news stories about horrible crimes, from sexual assault to murder to mass murder. Here are 10 of the most violent and gruesome cases that took place on university grounds that still make us shudder today.

  1. Virginia Tech massacre:One of the most violent crimes in American history took place on the quiet campus of Virginia Tech one April morning in 2007. Around 7:15 a.m., VT senior Seung-Hui Cho entered a dorm and killed a student and an R.A. who attempted to help her. Two hours later, he walked to an engineering building, chained the doors shut from the inside, and started shooting. Walking from room to room, he first killed 10 and injured two. In the next room, he killed five and wounded six. By the time he turned the gun on himself, he had killed 32 people, 28 of whom he shot in the head, and injured 25 more.
  2. Kent State shootings:This state school in Kent, Ohio will probably always be known for what happened here on May 4, 1970. Unarmed students — some of whom were protesting the invasion of Cambodia, and some who were simply walking by — were fired on by national guardsmen. The 60-plus rounds fired into the crowd killed four students and wounded nine, with one student being paralyzed by a hit in his spine. The photo of a female student weeping over the body of a murdered student became an international sensation and served as a visual representation of the violence in Asia against which the students had been protesting.
  3. Xin Yang murder:Less than two years after the mass shootings devastated the campus, Virginia Tech was rocked by yet another horribly violent crime. Graduate student Xin Yang had befriended doctoral candidate Haiyang Zhu because of their shared ethnicity; Yang had just come from China two weeks earlier. The two were having coffee in a campus restaurant, giving no indication to witnesses that either was upset. Suddenly Zhu attacked Yang, stabbing her multiple times and then decapitating her in front of horrified students. He was covered in her blood when police arrived minutes later. Zhu pleaded guilty to the murder and received life in prison.
  4. UT tower shootings:Mass shootings were nearly unheard of when Charles Whitman began sniping students, professors, and police on the University of Texas campus on Aug. 1, 1966. The previous night he had stabbed his mother and wife in the heart, killing both in their sleep. Armed with a hunting rifle equipped with a 4x scope (along with other guns), the former marine killed three people inside the tower and 10 more from the observation deck. Another 32 were wounded. The massacre was finally ended when three police and a civilian surprised Whitman and shot him to death.
  5. Jeanne Ann Clery murder:The full name of the Clery Act is the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The act requires schools to publish security reports. Had they done so in Jeanne Clery’s time at Lehigh University, she would have known that her dorm had had 181 reports of auto-locking doors being propped open by residents, which is how student Josoph M. Henry let himself into Clery’s dorm on April 5, 1986. When Clery interrupted Henry robbing her, he beat, cut, raped, sodomized, and strangled her.
  6. Cal State Fullerton shooting:It’s not just students who perpetrate violent crimes on campus. The man responsible for the notorious killings at the Cal State Fullerton library in July 1976 was a library custodian. Edward Charles Allaway, prone to hallucination and recently informed of his wife’s filing for divorce, bought a 22.-caliber rifle from Kmart and used it to kill seven people and wound two others in the library lobby. Allaway was convinced porno movies were being made on campus featuring his wife. In his murder trial, he was found innocent by way of insanity.
  7. Northern Illinois University shooting:Former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak was fascinated by the Virginia Tech and Columbine school shootings, but people like his girlfriend and best friend never believed he could do anything similar. But on Feb. 14, 2008, driven by the mental illness for which he was taking Xanax, Ambien, and Prozac, Kazmierczak armed himself with guns, ammo, and a knife and proceeded to Cole Hall on the NIU campus. There he opened fire on a professor and students, killing five and wounding 21 before taking his own life.
  8. Orangeburg massacre:Two years before the Kent State shootings shocked the nation, students at South Carolina State went through a similarly violent situation that received much less attention. The students had gathered to protest segregation at a local bowling alley, but some were throwing fire-bombs and other items. After a state trooper was hit by a piece of wood, police surrounded the crowd and fired “riot guns” at them, which were intended to be non-lethal but were loaded with lethal buckshot. Three men died and 28 were wounded, most of them shot from behind.
  9. Oikos University shooting:The sixth-deadliest school shooting in American history happened this year. Oikos University is a tiny Korean private school in Oakland, Calif., with a student body of less than 100. Former nursing student One Goh claims to only remember parts of what happened on April 2, 2012, when he returned to a nursing class and told his former classmates, “get in line … I’m going to kill you all.” He then fired indiscriminately around the room, killing seven people and injuring three.
  10. Marissa Pagli strangling:For sheer, disturbing violence, parents killing their kids is arguably the most sickening. On Feb. 22, 2011, Stacy Pagli strangled to death her daughter Marissa, an 18-year-old student at Manhattanville College, in her on-campus apartment. She then slit her left wrist and tried to hang herself on a doorknob. Pagli explained her motivation for killing her child by saying the girl was ” disrespectful all the time.” When Marissa gave her an answer she didn’t like to her questioning where she was going, Stacy Pagli replied, “This will be the last time you speak to me like that.”