Questions Keep Coming for Va. Tech Officials

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People across the country are being asked to wear Virginia Tech's school colors Friday.

The "orange and maroon" effect, as it's called, is intended to honor the students and faculty members killed Monday and to show support for the school as it struggles to recover.

On campus, there's a feeling expressed by administrators and students that it's time for Virginia Tech to start moving forward.

On Thursday, Virginia Tech officials spent another day trying to answer tough questions about Seung-hui Cho and how they handled complaints about his behavior more than a year before his rampage.

Questions focused on complaints brought by two women that they were receiving unwelcome calls and messages from Cho. The problem was serious enough that Cho was submitted to disciplinary procedures and forced to undergo a mental evaluation. But he soon was back at school.

Virginia Tech's assistant vice president of student affairs, Ed Spencer, defended the school's course of action.

"I know that we followed all of our policies correctly," he said. "And we acted on information that we had at the time. And now we have much more information."

The school says the way it handled Cho, and the persistent complaints from students and faculty members about his behavior, will be part of an independent review being conducted by a commission appointed by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

Virginia Tech will also conduct its own evaluation next week. But spokesman Larry Hincker says its time for the school to try to put the murders behind it.

"We have got to move forward," he said. "As you can imagine, we cannot let this horror define Virginia Tech."

On campus, there's a sense among some students that much of the scrutiny the media has focused on the university and how it handled Cho is unfair.

On the drill field in the center of campus Thursday, students and visitors gathered at several memorials for the 32 victims. Sophomore Brittany Johnson was collecting signatures on a poster she planned to deliver to the school president. It read: "Thank You, President Steger."

"We're just trying to show our support for him," Johnson said. "We have another poster going around for the VT police as well as the state police ... we're really trying to put it out there that we support them even though they're kind of getting a bad rap that they do not deserve in any way."

That was an attitude delivered directly to the media yesterday in the form of a leaflet distributed by other Virginia tech students. It accused news organizations of attacking the administration and hounding students.

After three days of intense media coverage that has included dozens of satellite trucks, untold TV cameras and hundreds of reporters, Johnson said it's not surprising that some students feel their campus is under siege.

"There's a point to where we say 'enough's enough and you got your story,'" she said. "We can't heal properly as long as all the press is here ... I personally think the media should let it go. You have your story."

Virginia Tech officials say they have heard from some students and faculty members who are uncertain whether they will return next week when classes resume. The school said it's developing a number of options for students, including allowing them to receive a grade for work completed so far.

The school also made another announcement. It will award posthumous degrees to all the students who were killed.



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