DEBORAH AMOS, host:
People across the country are being asked to wear Virginia Tech school colors today. 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 from the worst shooting in U.S. history.
On campus there is a feeling expressed by administrators and students that it's time for Virginia Tech to start moving on.
NPR's Greg Allen reports from Blacksburg.
GREG ALLEN: Virginia Tech officials yesterday 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 shooting spree. 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 for student affairs, Ed Spencer, defended the school's course of action.
Mr. ED SPENCER (Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Virginia Tech): I know that we followed all of our policies correctly in the past, and we acted on information that we had at the time. And now we have much more information.
ALLEN: 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 Governor Tim Kaine. Virginia Tech will also conduct its own evaluation next week. But spokesman Larry Hincker says it's time for the school to try to put the murders behind it.
Mr. LARRY HINCKER (Spokesman, Virginia Tech): We have got to move forward. As you can imagine, we cannot let this horror define Virginia Tech. We're going to do whatever we can to try to get this place on its feet again, while we remember what took place and we do what we can to ever prevent anything like that happening again in the United States.
ALLEN: On campus there is 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 yesterday, students and visitors gathered at several memorials for the 32 victims. Sophomore Brittany Johnson(ph) was collecting signatures on a poster she planned to deliver to the school president. It read: Thank You, President Steger.
Ms. BRITTANY JOHNSON (Sophomore, Virginia Tech): We're just trying to show our support for him and we had another poster going around for the VT police as well as the state police, 'cause they've been here protecting us to the best of their ability. And so 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.
ALLEN: 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 four days of intense media coverage that has included dozens of satellite trucks, untold TV cameras and hundreds of reporters, Johnson says it's not surprising that some students feel their campus is under siege.
Ms. JOHNSON: There is a point to where we say enough is enough, and you got your story, but it's time to let us be and to let us heal. And we can't heal properly as long as all the press is here. So there may be a time today, tomorrow, the next day, that I personally think the media should let it go. You have your story.
ALLEN: Virginia Tech officials say they've heard from some students and faculty members who are uncertain whether they'll 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, that it will award posthumous degrees to all the students who were killed.
Greg Allen, NPR News, Blacksburg.
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