Saturday, November 15, 2008

Virginia Tech Panel Report Deficiencies Exposed

In my October 2007 report titled Crisis of Leadership: A Response to the Virginia Tech Panel Report, numerous deficiencies of the governor's official panel were presented including:
  • The failure to explain why critical documents were not provided to the panel
  • An apparent contradiction to the panel's mission to "provide an independent, thorough and objective incident review of this tragic event…" Executive Order Number Fifty-Three (2007) Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine
  • Failure to name individuals in the Virginia Tech Policy Group in the context of various findings
  • Avoidance of addressing the failure of Virginia Tech leadership to have the campus on high alert during the anniversary week of Columbine
  • Blatant irresponsibility of the panel group to make the statement, “So far as the panel is aware, there was no outcry from parents, students, or faculty for improving VT campus security prior to April 16.”
  • Distorted semantics on lockdown issues from the President of the University, Charles W. Steger which were not decisively addressed
  • Outlandish statements such as the defense of the failure to immediately lockdown
  • Insensitivity to the gravity of the double murder with a killer at large by stating, "the general practice at most large universities is not to close when a student dies..."
  • Disservice to those who died when they had the right to know of the first two killings at West Ambler Johnston by stating, "Cho, too, could have shot people in the open on the campus…"
  • Continuous avoidance for accountability for the failure to immediately communicate to the campus that two killings had taken place and a killer was at large and failing to immediately lockdown
  • Failure to ask vital questions regarding bomb threat procedure training and if the campus was informed to be on high alert during Columbine week

Compounding the deficiencies cited in my report are some disturbing revelations highlighted in a November 7, 2008 article titled Kaine defends report on Tech massacre written by David Ress of the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Reprinted from

Kaine defends report on Tech massacre

November 7, 2008


Last month, police and Tech officials disclosed to victims and families discrepancies between the panel report and the events of that day that included:

  • The witness interview that led police and Tech officials to mistakenly conclude a gunman was off campus started 46 minutes later than the panel reported.
  • Police never searched the rental van Cho drove for almost a month before the attack.
  • Tech President Charles W. Steger now says the earliest he heard police had a "person of interest" in the first two shootings that day was at 8:40 a.m. -- much later than the 8:10 a.m. time that a state investigation panel report suggested.
  • Despite a detailed report by the panel of the actions of the Policy Group, a gathering of top Tech officials who managed the crisis that morning, those leaders now say they had no clear recollection of conversations. They cited the confusion as they were consulting separately with others on campus and trying to verify reports about the first two students who were shot fatally -- accounts that came from the university police chief.
  • Two Policy Group members advised family members of the shooting well before the group issued a general advisory to the campus.
  • Policy Group members did not discuss closing the campus. That apparently contradicts what Tech officials told a state investigation panel when one member testified the group members questioned themselves about whether to close the campus.
In my opinion, the reasonable mind can only ask,
"How is it conceivable that the official governor's panel report on the Virginia Tech tragedy; an unprecedented event in American history, be defended when it is laced with errors, deficiencies and a failure to disclose critical information?"


Probe into massacre at Va. Tech continues
By David Ress
November 11, 2008
Click here to visit site
Kaine defends report on Tech massacre
By David Ress
November 7, 2008
Click here to visit site
Teachers expressed concern over Cho
By David Ress
November 2, 2008
Click here to visit site
Victims' kin still seek answers at Virginia Tech
By David Ress
October 30, 2008
Click here to visit site
Families hear different versions of April 16 events
By David Ress
October 20, 2008
Click here to visit site
Did Tech shootings spur idea to close?
By David Ress
September 13, 2008
Click here to visit site
Tech release of records
omits key materials
By David Ress
July 21, 2008
Click here to visit site
Tech not commenting
on April 16 e-mails
By David Ress
June 19, 2008
Click here to visit site
Virginia Tech Blogs Click here to visit site
Crisis of Leadership: A Response to the Virginia Tech Panel Report Click here to visit site

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