Virginia Tech Heightens Security Measures
The panel’s recommendations, issued Wednesday, included having the university provide more counseling for mentally troubled students, erecting Internet-based message boards across campus to alert students of emergencies and installing more surveillance cameras, the New York Times reported.
The school already has implemented some of the panel’s recommendations, such as changing the door handles that Cho chained together so that they cannot be chained in the future. The university also has instituted an electronic alert system, which warns students and staff members of emergencies through e-mails, text messaging and instant messaging.
A broader report, commissioned by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, D, and conducted by an independent panel, is expected to be released Thursday. The nearly 300-page report will include a detailed timeline of the shootings and the responses of the university administrators and police. It also will probe the mental health history of the gunman, according to the Roanoke Times.
Kaine issued an executive order allowing the panel to access Cho’s mental health and academic records, which were originally off-limits due to privacy laws.
In the earlier internal review, officials refrained from placing blame on the university for the violence, saying their report was not meant to be an investigation into the response to the shootings.
Although the report refrained from blaming campus administrators, many family members of the victims criticized the university for not ordering a campus lockdown after the first of two shooting sprees.
University President Charles Steger, who presented the school’s report, defended the university’s decision.
“A lockdown is simply not feasible on a campus that is the size of a small city,” he said, according to the Times. “Our review reflects the consensus of law enforcement.”