After the massacre at Virginia Tech last week I spent several days thinking about what makes a person turn into such a monster. I wondered how a human being – even one with as troubled a past as Seung-Hui Cho – could do such horrendous things. But after days of contemplation and pray, I realized that since the beginning of time evil has roamed our land. There will always be dangerous people out there. So the question arises: What do we do about it?
Sadly the administration at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia did nothing. Like just about every other college in America, the leaders of Virginia Tech were obsessed with the image of their school. Prestige and reputation ruled every decision. Honors, enrollment, and money would continue to flow in if everything else was kept quiet. This is not a conspiracy theory or wild rant. This is the cold hard truth. Virginia Tech officials knew about Cho’s behavior prior to the horrendous killings yet refused to act.
English Literature professor Nikki Giovanni had Cho in her class and saw his meanness and anger and demanded that if he were not removed from her class, she would resign. Lucinda Roy, then the department chair-person, removed Cho from the class and taught him one on one. Roy recalled Cho exhibited an obvious rage, and was secretly taking photographs of other students while holding the camera under his desk. Besides this, his writings were so disturbing that she went to the police and university administrators for help. Yet the administration did nothing.
This was not the first time the administration heard complaints about Cho. In November 2005 local and campus police were notified by a student complaining that Cho was stalking her. The university's Office of Judicial Affairs handled the complaint and obviously (the outcome of that situation is confidential) things remained the same. Because a month later another woman student complained to campus authorities about unwanted messages she was receiving from Cho, the campus police spoke to him and then released him on the agreement that he meet with Access Services, an independent mental health facility in Blacksburg. Furthermore, Cho’s roommates reported him to campus police as being suicidal and displaying “crazy” behavior. Again, nothing was done.
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