Information uncovered, questions remain
The package of videos and photos gunman Cho Seung-Hui sent to NBC was reviewed by the police but has not offered any new evidence or conclusions to the investigation.
Col. Steve Flaherty, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said he knew the evidence would be vital but that they had already secured most of this information during the investigation.
Although Flaherty appreciated NBC’s cooperation, he said he was disappointed in the editorial decision to release the images and video to the public.
What concerned him was that people had to see images that were absolutely disturbing.
The package did explain where Cho was between the shootings in West Ambler-Johnston and Norris Hall.
David McGinnis, U.S. Postal Inspection Service external crimes ream leader, said that the package was presented at approximately 9:01 a.m. on Monday, April 16, at a U.S. post office on 118 North Main Street in Blacksburg.
It was a busy time because many people were mailing in their tax returns, McGinnis said.
The address to NBC in New York was wrong on the package. An employee noticed that the zip code had six digits and corrected it. A carrier recognized the address that the package was intended for and delivered it properly, McGinnis said.
Flaherty said it was NBC’s idea to put the information out for the public.
Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said that he does not know if any of the video was filmed during the shootings, but he does think that it was done before April 16.
Mark McNamee, university provost, said in a press conference this morning that students would have choices for what they want to do to finish the remainder for the semester.
The university is working with the eight deans and the dean of the graduate school to develop a set of principles until the end of the semester.
Identities of the rest of the victims were also released. The university will award all students who were killed in the shootings degrees for the regular commencement exercises they would have gone through with their friends.
“Obviously the most important thing we are trying to focus on is the care of the families that are left here,” said Larry Hincker, university spokesperson.
Officials released the identities of more student victims this morning.
Questions about Cho’s mental health were brought up concerning the universities’ and the state’s involvement in his counseling and mental health care.
Chris Flynn, director of the Cook Counseling Center, said he thought the issue of not keeping watch on a mental health patient like Cho could be related to decreased funding in the state for mental health. Ed Spencer, associate vice president of student affairs, said that Cho’s roommates never expressed concern of violence or danger.
Flaherty said they are working on wrapping up the investigation. He clarified that he had not spoken with Cho’s parents and does not know if anyone in the investigation has.
At this point, Cho’s body has not been released, said John Marshall, secretary of public safety.
Gov. Tim Kaine announced his intention to set up a review board. Hincker said he does not know when it will come together.
At a second press conference, Hincker addressed the future and expressed his sorrow for the university.
“From my university’s standpoint, we have got to move forward,” he said. “We will do whatever we can to get this place on its feet again to prevent anything like it to ever happen again.”
He also discussed operational issues pertaining to the rest of the weekend and semester. There will be a joint information center set up somewhere on campus to release further information about any developments.
Authorities are unsure about whether Norris Hall will remain on campus.
In addition, there will be stricter rules for reporting from the Drillfield.
– Courtesy of The Collegiate Time
Returning to class after the shooting spree
As students, faculty, staff and members of a community, we have started the healing process with resolve. Hokies are spending time with family and friends, remembering the victims, and slowly but surely coming to terms with these events.
The Provost has issued a letter stating that classes will resume on April 23, but the way students will finish the semester is up to them.
Students have three options to determine their semester grade. The first option is getting a grade based on materials that have already been submitted prior to April 16. The second is already submitted material plus any other material a student wishes to submit for a grade. The last option is to turn in the material that would have been submitted for a grade upon regular completion of the course.
The Provost’s letter asks for discussion of these events from various perspectives, and also mentions the choices students will have for completion of the semester.
Professor Benfield of the Biology department states, “We want to be flexible, and do what the students want to do.”
Faculty members will meet Friday to discuss further details, but the general consensus is geared toward allowing students to have flexibility.
Members of the faculty have also expressed a wish to see less of the media around campus, hoping that students and faculty will have more peace in the coming days. Benfield asserts that the healing process will be strengthened if there is less media coverage when students return to classes.
The Provost states, “Flexibility and attention to the needs of the students is a high priority … In support of their emotional well-being, it is recommended that students continue to participate in class activities as part of the Virginia Tech community.”
The letter goes on to state that the course withdrawal option will be extended until the last day of classes, and each student will also have that time to choose their course completion method.
Faculty members agree this sounds like the most reasonable option. It allows for students to leave campus without any grade penalties. Benfield states that he and other faculty members and counselors have made themselves available if students need to talk. The letter encourages students to return to class, and many people on campus hope that next week, normalcy will return to the campus. The Provost concluded his letter by stating that the students whose lives were taken will be awarded the posthumously degrees for which they were enrolled this semester.
– Courtesy of The Collegiate Times