Archived news and notices
On this page you will find an archive of the news, information, and related links delivered by University Relations following the tragic events of April 2007.
Moment of silence planned for Monday
Updated 2:55 p.m., April 22, 2007
On Monday, April 23, Virginia Tech will observe a university-wide moment of silence, marked by the toll of one bell from the tower of Burruss Hall at 9:45 a.m.
At 9:46 a.m., 32 bell tolls will sound in memory of each victim, timed with the release of 32 white balloons from the Drillfield. A release of 1,000 orange and maroon balloons signifying Hokie unity and spirit will immediately follow.
Please join each other, along with Hokies United, in observing the moment of silence and balloon release from the Drillfield.
For more information regarding this event, please visit www.hokiesunited.org.vt.edu.
A message from President Charles W. Steger
Posted 2:30 p.m., April 21, 2007
Dear Fellow Members of the University Community:
I am very proud of the manner in which our faculty, staff, and students have united this week as a family. We have demonstrated that we are not going to allow the tragic events of this last week to divide or define us.
In this time of healing, it is important that we take care of one another, and together we can move forward to “Invent the Future.” Let us take a moment now to reflect on our Principles of Community—and reaffirm our commitment to strive to reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our community.
Together, we pledge our collective commitment to these principles in the spirit of our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).
We will prevail. . . we are Hokies!
Charles W. Steger
Gov. Kaine announces panel that will independently review Virginia Tech tragedy
Posted 3:40 p.m., April 19, 2007
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today provided additional information on the scope and timeline of the independent review of the circumstances surrounding Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech. The review panel, which will be led by retired Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Gerald Massengill, also will include former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge; nationally-recognized experts in higher education and mental health also have agreed to serve.
“I appreciate the willingness of these individuals to lend their time and expertise to this critically important review of the recent terrible events at Tech,” Governor Kaine said. “This panel will provide a thoughtful, objective analysis of the circumstances leading up to, during, and immediately after Monday’s horrible events. What we learn could result in fresh ideas that will help bolster the safety of our young people on campuses in communities across the country.”
Posted 3:40 p.m., April 19, 2007
The Virginia State Police have closed their on-scene phase of the Virginia Tech investigation. The state, federal and local investigators are now moving on to the task of evaluating, reviewing, re-reviewing, and building a case to explain what, and as much as possible why, this tragedy occurred.
From this point, there will be little daily information to share from the law-enforcement perspective. Media will be kept apprised of any meaningful investigative developments as they emerge.
In regards to the correspondence believed to have been sent by Cho Seung-Hui to NBC, investigators did have a chance to preview the contents of the package before it aired on the nightly news. When the FBI took custody of the package Wednesday afternoon, it immediately became part of the evidentiary content for the ongoing investigation.
Investigators had hoped the correspondence forwarded to NBC would have been of significant evidentiary value. While there was some marginal value to the information, the vast majority of it already existed among the evidence collected during the course of the investigation. The writings, photographs and video simply confirmed much of what law enforcement already knew and had established during the course of this investigation.
Investigators have identified, located and processed a vehicle associated with Cho. This took place early on in the investigation.
The 911 calls made in relation to the shootings will not be released to media, as they are part of the criminal investigative file.
“Over the last news cycle, families of the victims have endured, the Virginia Tech family has endured, and indeed the world has endured a view of a side of life that few would and should ever have to see,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police. “This is a side of life that a few years ago was only seen by those who have chosen to work in a profession responsible for managing and mitigating crime and violence.”
Support available for faculty and staff through weekend
Posted 2:55 p.m., April 19, 2007
There are a number of resources available on and around campus to support our community in dealing personally and collectively with Monday's events. More information can be found by contacting any of the resources below. There are also additional informational resources, including special information for parents and teachers, at www.hr.vt.edu/ supportresources.
Faculty and staff support resources:
- Counselors are available at Squires Student Center (Brush Mountain Room), Southgate Center, and The Inn at Virginia Tech from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Counselors are available to meet with departments and workgroups at their offices or other convenient locations
- Contact 540/231-9331 for more information during business hours; after hours, contact ValueOptions at 1-866-725-0602.
Counselors will be also available for Faculty and Staff in the Brush Mountain room at Squires Student Center this weekend during the following times:
- Saturday, April 21 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
- Sunday, April 22 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Classes to resume Monday, April 23; several options available to students
Posted 1:30 p.m., April 19, 2007
The first day of class will involve broad ranging discussion of these events from various perspectives. There will also be discussion of the options, which are available to students concerning their completion of the semester.
Classes will be continued with the elimination of one week of work. Students will have the option of requesting, on a course by course basis, that the semester grade be based on the faculty evaluation of:
- Materials which have already been submitted for grade prior to April 16, or
- The already submitted material plus any other assigned material which the student wishes to submit for grade, or
- The material that would have been submitted for grade upon regular completion of the course.
Official donation website; beware fraudulent funds
Updated 1:35 p.m., April 19, 2007
Recognizing the unprecedented outpouring of sympathy and goodwill from people worldwide, Virginia Tech has set up the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, the official place for donations. Other websites soliciting donations for victims of the shootings at Virginia Tech April 16 may be fraudulent.
Ut Prosim Society and Campaign Kickoff events postponed
Posted 6:30 p.m., April 18, 2007
In light of the terrible tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16, the Ut Prosim Society and Campaign Kickoff events to be held on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, are postponed and will be rescheduled for a future date.
Information will be shared as it becomes available. Special Events is working diligently to identify a date in the fall for rescheduling; however, there are many details and logistical concerns to be considered before a date will be determined.
Special Events will automatically cancel all lodging accommodations within our event room blocks (The Inn at Virginia Tech, Hawthorn Suites, Holiday Inn, and Hampton Inn) on Wednesday, April 25. There will be no cancellation charges. If you wish to keep your reservation, please call the hotel directly.
If you were planning to attend and made airline reservations, we encourage you to contact the airline and explain that due to extraordinary circumstances (Virginia Tech tragedy), travel dates will need to be adjusted. The airlines may put the reservation on hold (until a future date is determined) without penalty. This is merely a suggestion as the airlines will make each determination.
If you have further questions, please contact the Office of Special Events at 540/231-2521 and 540/231-4853.
Project management course postponed
Posted 5:30 p.m., April 18, 2007
The Project Management Certification course scheduled for April 21st through June 16th at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, VA has been postponed. The course will begin on April 28th, instead of April 21st.
Meetings are still taking place to decide on the fate of a few other programs and I will e-mail you tomorrow when I have an update.
Posted 4:30 p.m., April 18, 2007
Earlier today, NBC News headquarters in New York received correspondence believed to be from Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman responsible for the fatal shootings at Norris Hall. The correspondence includes multiple photographs, video, and writings.
Upon receipt of this correspondence, NBC News immediately notified authorities. NBC News security is to be commended for alerting authorities on this correspondence and handling it in a manner to preserve its integrity.
The originals have been turned over to the FBI and the Virginia State Police have been working with the FBI, ATF and Virginia Tech Police Department on this new evidence.
This may be a new critical component of this investigation, and as a result it is being analyzed.
Governor Kaine announces statewide day of mourning
Posted 3:55 p.m., April 18, 2007
Governor Timothy M. Kaine has declared Friday, April 20, 2007 a statewide day of mourning for the victims of Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech.
On Friday, Governor Kaine will participate in an interfaith prayer service in Monroe Park on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He has encouraged other communities in Virginia and across the nation to hold their own simultaneous ceremonies and participate in prayer services, beginning with the ringing of bells at noon, eastern daylight savings time.
“As our Commonwealth begins the long and difficult healing process, I am filled with images of a Virginia Tech community that is resilient and unified,” said Governor Kaine. “I ask that everyone in Virginia pause at noon on Friday to offer prayers of support for the victims, their families, and for all those affected by this tragedy.”
The Richmond prayer service will take place at Monroe Park, Belvidere and Main Streets, and will begin at noon eastern daylight savings time.
Media notice: media truck guidelines
Posted 2:15 p.m., April 18, 2007
The following parking lots are available to media satellite trucks:
- The Inn at Virginia Tech
- Coliseum Parking Lot
Directions: From The Inn at VT, take West Campus Drive (heading toward campus), turn Left at Roundabout on Washington Street, turn Right into parking lot.
- Perry Street Parking Lot 4
Across the street from the Inn at VT, nearest to the crosswalk on West Campus Drive
If the media would like to access other areas on campus, please contact University Relations at 540/231-5396 for coordination.
Blacksburg Transit services resumes
Posted 1:35 p.m., April 18, 2007
As of 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, Blacksburg Transit Break Service will resume including the Virginia Tech campus area; with the exception of stops at Burruss, Davidson and McBryde Halls and the stop at Stanger and Perry. All buses with routes on campus will now make a mandatory stop at Torgersen. For more information please visit www.btransit.org or call 540/961-1185.
Continuing and Professional Education programs canceled
Posted 12:45 p.m., April 18, 2007
Due to the recent events at Virginia Tech, the following conferences, meetings, short courses, and continuing education programs arranged by Virginia Tech's Continuing and Professional Education are canceled.
- April 19-20 - "From Jamestown to the Blue Ridge: Cooking Up 400 Years of Culinary History in Virginia."
- April 18 - "Emergency Preparedness in the Drinking Water Industry" broadcast to thirteen locations around Virginia has been cancelled.
- April 18-20 - “Recently Appointed Administrators’ Institute” at The Hotel Roanoke Conference Center.
- April 20-21 - Multi-Specialty Ultrasound Conference at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.
Participants are asked to be sure to cancel any related travel or hotel reservations. As soon as possible, participants will be contacted personally regarding any related program refund information. Some of these events will be rescheduled.
If participants have further questions, they can call 540/231-5182. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your understanding.
Posted 9 a.m., April 18, 2007
At 7:53 a.m. a Virginia Tech operator received a threat against President Charles Steger. Police officers responded to Steger’s office in Burruss Hall to make him aware of the potential threat. The increased police presence in and around Buruss Hall led to rumors and false assumptions about what was going on, this then led to an unwarranted report of a suspicious person in Buruss Hall. Officers immediately responded to the report of a suspicious person, which was unfounded.
“Reports of this kind are not uncommon in the wake of what has taken place in the past 48 hours on the Virginia Tech campus – which is one reason why there is high police visibility throughout the campus,” said Chief W.R. Flinchum, Virginia Tech Police.
State, local, and federal law enforcement officials have released new information on the Norris Hall gunman, Cho Seung-Hui, 23. Once Cho’s identification was confirmed, Virginia Tech Police records were reviewed and it was determined that there was contact with Cho in the fall of 2005.
Nov. 27, 2005, Cho contacted a female student through phone calls and in person. The student notified the Virginia Tech Police Department, and declined to press charges. However, Officers spoke with Cho concerning this matter, and the investigating officer referred Cho to the University disciplinary system – the Office of Judicial Affairs. For more information on Judicial Affairs visit www.judicial.vt.edu.
Dec. 12, 2005, Cho instant messaged a second female student. She made a complaint to Virginia Tech Police. In both instances there was never any direct threat made. Later that day police received a call from an acquaintance of Cho’s who was concerned that Cho might have been suicidal. Officers again met with Cho and talked with him at length.
Out of concern for Cho, officers asked him to speak to a counselor. He went voluntarily to the police department. Based on that interaction with the counselor, a temporary detention order was obtained and Cho was taken to a mental health facility, Carilion Saint Albans Behavioral Health Center. It was also in the fall of 2005 that the Chair of the English Department, Dr. Lucinda Roy, shared her concerns with Virginia Tech Police regarding Cho and his course writing assignments.
“These assignments were for a creative writing course that encouraged students to be imaginative and artistic. The writings did not express any threatening intentions or allude to any criminal activity, and no criminal violation had taken place,” said Flinchum, “Dr. Roy chose to reach out to this student, out of concern for him and his mental wellbeing.”
Since those contacts in December of 2005 the Virginia Tech Police Department is not aware of any additional incidents or reports made to the police department in regards to Cho.
IRS grants six-month filing, payment extension
Posted 9 a.m., April 18, 2007
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday granted a six-month tax filing and payment extension to those affected by the shootings Monday at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Va. This relief applies to the victims, their families, emergency responders and university students and employees.
“Taxes are the last thing the Virginia Tech family should be worried about at this time,” IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said. “Our hearts go out to the people affected by this tragic event.”
The relief announced today allows taxpayers affected by the events at Virginia Tech to have until Oct. 15, 2007, to file and make payments associated with their 2006 individual tax returns due April 17. No filing and payment penalties will be due for those who qualify for this extension as long as the returns are filed and payments are made by Oct. 15, 2007.
In order to claim this relief, taxpayers need to call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227 and identify themselves to the IRS before they file and or make payment.
Please note that taxpayers with questions not related to the Virginia Tech situation should visit IRS.gov or contact the regular IRS toll-free number at 1-800-829-1040.
Posted 5:30 p.m., April 17, 2007
State, local, and federal law enforcement officials continue their round-the-clock investigation of the multiple fatal shootings that took place on the Virginia Tech campus the morning of Monday, April 16, 2007.
Within the past 24 hours, a search warrant was executed on the dorm room of Cho Seung-Hui, 23, in Harper Hall. Investigators are still determining the evidentiary value of papers and assorted items seized from the room.
Investigators have also been following up on leads related to the two weapons recovered at the scene in Norris Hall. The two weapons used in this incident were a 9-milimeter handgun and a 22-caliber handgun. Investigators have traced the weapons and confirmed that Cho did legally purchase them in accordance with Virginia law.
There is no evidence at this time to suggest that Cho left behind or distributed a suicide note.
The Virginia State Police have been coordinating the notification of the victims’ next-of-kin with local authorities around the country. At this time, all families have been tentatively notified.
The major thrust of the Medical Examiner’s Office today has been obtaining fingerprint records to identify the victims. These records must be obtained from local, state, federal, and international agencies. Staff at the Medical Examiner’s Office is working 12-hour shifts with staff resources from all over the state to expedite the scientific collection of evidence and positive identification of the deceased. This process is expected to continue for several more days.
Recreational Sports adjusts facility schedules
Posted 5:15 p.m., April 17, 2007
Recreational Sports has arranged to keep its facilities at McComas and War Memorial open for the rest of the week. Students, faculty, and staff have a place to go on campus to work out and relieve some stress so that they can start the healing process after these tragic events. Unfortunately, the pools will not be opened in either facility due to limited staffing.
Rec Sports also has cancelled the following: All instructional classes, group exercise classes, intramural sports activities, the Graduate Life Fitness Fair, the University Bookstore 5K Dash for the Cure, and the Intramural Sports Softball Championship Night.
- Download a detailed schedule for both facilities (PDF).
NCR / Northern Virginia campus announcements
Updated 2:15 p.m., April 17, 2007
Virginia Tech faculty, staff and students in the National Capital Region will gather together Wednesday, April 18th, at noon at the Northern Virginia Center, room 100, to share our collective sorrow about the tragic events of April 16th in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region will hold a public Candlelight Vigil on Wednesday, April 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Old Town Market Square, City Hall, 300 King Street, Alexandria, Va., to honor victims of the tragic events of April 16 on the university’s main campus in Blacksburg.
At 8 p.m. the same evening, the National Capital Region Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association will hold a Candlelight Vigil at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 9220 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, Va. This non-denominational event is an opportunity for Hokies to join together and show their support for the family and friends of the victims.
A special message to all alumni of Virginia Tech
Posted noon, April 17, 2007
To our Virginia Tech alumni, I write the kind of message I never expected to have to write in my entire career serving the university ...
Board of Visitors to meet
Posted 11:40 a.m., April 17, 2007
The Board of Visitors will meet in closed session at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Merryman Center conference room.
Overflow seating for today's Convocation
Posted 11:45 a.m., April 17, 2007
Overflow seating for today's Convocation, should Cassell Coliseum be filled to capacity, is available in Lane Stadium box seats.
Auditorium available to families of victims
Posted 10:55 a.m., April 17, 2007
During today's Convocation at Cassell Coliseum, the Merryman Center auditorium is being reserved for families of the victims who would to attend service in a private location.
Interpreting services at today's Convocation
Posted 10:20 a.m., April 17, 2007
Virginia Tech will provide interpreting services at today's Convocation, scheduled for 2 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum.
Classes canceled for remainder of week
Posted 9:30 a.m., April 17, 2007
Virginia Tech continues to mourn the loss of 33 members of our community. As we move forward, we share the following information:
- Virginia Tech will cancel all classes for the remainder of the week to allow students the time they need to grieve and seek assistance as needed. The university will re-open administrative operations beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18, understanding that some faculty and staff may wish to take additional time off this week to grieve the loss of fellow colleagues and friends. We ask individual employees to communicate with their supervisors of their schedules for the balance of the week.
- We will close Norris Hall for the remainder of the semester. Staff are currently working to arrange alternative locations for classrooms and faculty offices.
- Counseling and other resources are available for students, faculty, and staff. Students may receive counseling at McComas Hall and counselors will be available for extended hours. Counselors will also be available in West Ambler Johnston for residents.
- Employees may receive needed support by going to the Brush Mountain Room in Squires Student Center throughout the day.
- The university will be holding a convocation ceremony at 2 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum. This will be the first time the Virginia Tech community will come together since the tragedy to share our collective sorrow. At that time, President George Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Gov. Timothy Kaine, Mrs. Kaine, members of our Board of Visitors, members of the clergy, our students, and poet Nikki Giovanni will share messages of condolence to the family and friends of the victims and words of hope to all of us as we move forward past this tragedy.
Again, we encourage all members of the Virginia Tech community to attend. Should the coliseum be full, the event will be broadcast on campus cable stations.
The Virginia Tech community, and the world at large, continues to struggle with these horrible events. We hope these steps will help in that healing process.
Norris Hall gunman identified; ballistics match at both crime scenes
Posted 9:15 a.m., April 17, 2007
The Virginia Tech Police Department has confirmed the identification of the gunman responsible for the multiple fatalities at Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus Monday, April 16, 2007.
The individual has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui, 23. Cho was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, a South Korean native, was in the U.S. as a resident alien with a residence established in Centreville, Va. Cho was living on campus in Harper Residence Hall.
A 9-milimeter handgun and 22-caliber handgun were recovered from Norris Hall. Ballistic tests on the evidence seized from the Norris Hall and the West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall scenes were conducted at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lab in Maryland. Lab results confirmed that one of the two weapons seized in Norris Hall was used in both shootings.
“At this time, the evidence does not conclusively identify Cho Seung-Hui as the gunman at both locations,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police. “With this newfound ballistics evidence, we are now able to proceed to the next level of this complex investigation.”
State, local, and federal investigators spent the night collecting, processing, and analyzing evidence from within Norris Hall. The deceased were recovered from at least four classrooms on the second floor and a stairwell of Norris Hall. The gunman, who took his life, was discovered by police in a classroom among the victims.
All of the deceased have been transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Roanoke for examination and identification.
The names of the 32 deceased students and faculty will be released once all victims are positively identified and next-of-kin notified.
The Virginia Tech Police Department, Blacksburg Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, FBI, ATF, and multiple other state and local agencies are all involved in the ongoing investigations at both Norris Hall and West Ambler Johnston Hall.
Counseling available today
Updated 8 a.m., April 17, 2007
Counseling assistance for faculty and staff today has been moved to Brush Mountain Room A in Squires Student Center, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Counseling assistance for for students is available at West Ambler Johnston and McComas Hall until 9 p.m.. Students are encouraged to utilize these services. Students may also gather at the Old Dominion Ballroom in Squires Student Center.
Sequence of events
Posted 10 p.m., April 16, 2007
The university has released a sequence of events from Monday's tragic shootings.
Further information will be released during a news conference Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
Blacksburg Transit service on Tuesday
Posted 4:10 p.m., April 16, 2007
On Tuesday, April 17, the Blacksburg Transit will offer a shuttle service between the Inn at Virginia Tech and university residence halls. Details:
- The shuttle will operate every hour, beginning at 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.
- Pick-up will occur at the intersection of Washington Street and Spring Road as well as the Inn at Virginia Tech.
The Inn at Virginia Tech has been designated as the location for parents to gather to ascertain information about students.
Campus remains closed; convocation Tuesday
Posted 3:45 p.m., April 16, 2007
Virginia Tech remains closed on Monday, April 16, 2007. Vehicular entrances to campus are severely restricted to essential personnel only. Additional security remains on campus as the investigation continues.
Counseling assistance is available ...
- For students at West Ambler Johnston and McComas Hall until 9 p.m. Monday night. Students are encouraged to utilize these services. Students may also gather at the Old Dominion Ballroom in Squires Student Center.
- For faculty and staff in the Bowman Room on the fourth floor of Jamerson Athletic Center, accessible from Jamerson or the Merryman Athletic Facility.
The university will also be closed on Tuesday, April 17. Essential personnel are to report for work. Classes are canceled.
A public gathering will be held on Tuesday, April 17 at Cassell Coliseum at 2 p.m. (a time change from the originally scheduled gathering).
All students are urged to contact their parents as soon as possible to let them know they are safe.
Students, faculty, and staff who may have any information related to the incident at West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall are encouraged to contact the Blacksburg Police Department to make statements in person, or by calling540/231-6411.
Parents with concerns are asked to call the Dean of Students Office at 540/231-3787.
Individuals injured in the two shootings have been taken to area hospitals.
Universities share our grief
Institutions of higher education across the country have expressed condolences and support for Virginia Tech via their websites.
Cards, letters, poems, pictures, posters, etc., that you wish to have forwarded to the families of the fallen Hokies may be mailed to:
Dean of Students Office
201 West Roanoke St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061
- Read public statements by President George W. Bush, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam and others.
Ongoing support resources
- For students: Procedures for completing the Spring 2007 semester
- For all: Counseling locations, hours, and related links
Important phone numbers
- Student/parent/family line (Dean of Students): 540/231-3787
- Virginia Tech Police tip line: 540/231-6411