Looking to learn from VT panel

Looking to learn from VT panel

The panel appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to investigate the April 16 incident at Virginia Tech released its findings and recommendations last week, and neither Tech nor the Commonwealth came out unscathed. Tech’s gaffes, according to the eight-member panel, include not connecting the dots to get mental health help for shooter Seung-Hui Cho and not issuing an emergency notification sooner after the early morning dormitory shooting that killed two. Some recommendations extend to the state level, such that the state should expand outpatient treatment service, tighten the laws around involuntary commitment and require background checks for firearms bought at gun shows.

The events at Norris Hall on April 16 continue to reverberate around the country. A state panel’s report has hard criticism of both Virginia Tech and the state.

UVA administrators are busy reviewing the report with a fine-toothed comb. So busy, there was no time to look up and comment in the days just after the report was released. "Because a quick reaction would do a disservice to the panel’s hard work, we will take time to read and reflect on the report before offering comment," said University spokesman Jeff Hanna in an e-mailed statement. "We anticipate that we will take full advantage of recommendations the report contains."

It’s hard to tell just which recommendations UVA has left to follow through on. Following the tragedy, the University beefed up its emergency alert system. Its active shooter guidelines were included in the panel’s report as a model for what Tech ought to have had. And UVA’s director of counseling and psychological services, Russ Federman, suggested to the panel in July that Cho likely would have gotten quicker treatment at UVA.

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