Timeline Revised on Virginia Tech Response

December 7, 2009

A revised report on Virginia Tech's response to the deadly shootings there in April 2007 is drawing lots of headlines for the information that some officials warned their families about the incident in progress before the campus was told, but university officials say that the implications being drawn are incorrect. The Roanoke Times reported that the new timeline does mention these notifications. But the Times quoted a Virginia Tech spokesman as saying that both were staff assistants, one of whom spoke to her son, while calling to wake him up to go to class, and mentioned the incident. The other, he said, was an assistant who was dropping her children off at her mother's house and mentioned to her mother that she had been called about the shootings. Neither of these cases represented "a concerted effort by university staff to notify their own families of danger in advance of notifying the campus community," the spokesman said. But a lawyer for two families suing Virginia Tech said he wasn't impressed by the distinction the university spokesman made. "It was people who were given the facts and took it as a serious potential risk, and the students who were not given the facts didn't have a way to protect themselves," the lawyer said.

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