The panel appointed by Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine to investigate the massacre at Virginia Tech is critical of the university’s response to the shootings and its treatment of Seung Hui Cho, says the Washington Post. The 8-member group concludes that lives could have been saved if officials had issued an alert sooner that a gunman was on campus. Cho went to the campus counseling center after he was ordered to do so by a judge in 2005 but the center failed to treat Cho. The panel’s report, which was posted online late last night, says the center was passive in its follow-up and is missing important records about Cho’s visit and telephone conversations with counselors.
The report reaches no conclusions about Cho’s motives for the rampage April 16 and what triggered him. For many relatives of victims, the criticism of the university’s actions after Cho shot two students in a dormitory was most telling. The report says campus police should have immediately requested that students and faculty be warned after those shootings and classes canceled. About two hours after the dorm shooting, Cho killed 30 more people and himself in an academic building. The campus-wide alert did not go out until shortly before the second shooting. Despite the criticism, Kaine said that neither Virginia Tech’s president nor its police chief should lose his job because of the findings of the panel. The problems the panel identified “would not be solved” by replacing them, Kaine said.