“He truly embodied the meaning of a courageous leader”
Ten years after the mass shooting that killed 31 people at Virginia Tech, two cadets have started a Care2 petition asking for a residence hall to be named after Air Force ROTC Cadet Matthew La Porte, who gave his life to defend his classmates from the shooter. The petition has gathered over 22,000 signatures. (VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/867/098/250/)
“We created the Care2 petition in order to pay homage to one of the most revered cadets in VTCC history,” petition author Nick Oberle, a current cadet at Virginia Tech, told Care2. “During one of the deadliest shootings in U.S history, this lone cadet stood up to the assailant in an attempt to protect his fellow Hokies. He truly embodied the meaning of a courageous leader. We want the residence hall to be named in his honor simply because it is the right thing to do.”
At the time of the 2007 shooting, La Porte was a sophomore studying political science who played tenor drum for the Hightie-Tighties. Survivors say he barricaded a classroom door to prevent the shooter from entering. When he managed to get in, La Porte charged him, “taking fire that would have been directed at his classmates.”
Oberle and his co-authors, Andy King and Tristan Nguyen, note on their petition that residence halls at the school are typically named after the biggest donors. For example, Goodwin Hall was called the Signature Engineering Building until Alice and Bill Goodwin donated $25 million to the university.
“The new cadet residence hall currently being built on Upper Quad does not have a name until someone makes a large enough donation,” they write. “We disagree with this practice and are striving for change.”
Two years ago, La Porte was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal, which is granted to service members who voluntarily risk their lives outside of combat.
“Our goal is not to discourage people from donating, and it should be mentioned how grateful we are to all the donors for our organization and university. Without them, we would not enjoy the many amenities we do today,” King told Care2. “It would be an honorable and humbling gesture for any donor to name a building for cadets after one of our own.”