Posted by: L | May 22, 2007

V- Tech Stonewalling on Cho counseling

Even the V-Tech review panel is getting miffed with the ongoing stonewall from Virginia Tech, according to ABC, May 21:

“When members of the Review Panel asked University counsel Kay Heidbreder if Cho had received on-campus treatment or follow-up, she said she did not know. She added that the information was protected under state privacy laws, even after Cho’s death.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger admitted that the university should have a better answer on the question of whether Cho underwent treatment.

“Just saying we don’t know is not good enough. But we obviously need to follow the law,” Steger told the panel.

Members of the panel expressed frustration at being denied information on Cho’s treatment and follow-up.”

My Comment:

I am going to make a wild guess at what I think this means. As anyone reading this blog knows, I’ve been following this case as closely as possible, since it broke 35 days ago.

In an earlier post, I speculated that the formative event/treatment that drove Cho crazy happened in 2005-06. Not hard to guess. He was a shy guy and didn’t speak much, and he may have been prone to anger. But he didn’t snap until that year.

It’s beginning to look like V-Tech’s Cook Counseling Center is indeed the place he was ordered to go. And if the unversity’s refusal to release his records is any indication, he did go.

Let me take a risk and say I think he was prescribed drugs somewhere along the line, maybe an SSRI – that he began taking regularly (the pills his room-mates saw).

And that’s when the real trouble may have begun.

I don’t know what else might have happened.

Whether he had some sexual experience, like his relatively benign one with the escort he hired…or something that left him more humiliated.

I don’t know who his counselor was. Or whether some therapy session might not have either revealed that he had been abused or had led him, erroneously, to believe he had been abused in the way he suddenly began describing in his plays written in 2006 fall.

Who is the counselor who handled him at Cook? What sorts of pills are prescribed there routinely? Is there a pharmacy which might have records of prescriptions they could hunt up?

Can we have a closer look at the contents of the room that the search warrant disclosed?

Or, more information from his room mates about those pills?

The panel needs to be asking those questions.

And that’ s besides the questions it needs to be asking about that shaky time line.

An online comment on the ABC story follows the same line of thought I had:

“Bullets are the ultimate invasion of privacy. Anyone thinking Virginia Tech is acting out of concern for Cho’s privacy is sadly deluded. The only conclusion to be drawn from this secrecy is that Virginia Tech receives grants, scholarships or other funding from drug companies. Someone “made a phone call” to Virginia Tech administration to hush this up. And the administration withered. — America’s next bloody campus massacre may well trace back to the same psychiatric drugs that deleted Cho’s emotions and left him a robotic killing machine. Withholding facts that might correlate 33 deaths and hundreds of ruined family-members’ lives to prescription medicines cheats the medical community, researchers, patients and parents. — Is Virginia Tech only pretending to be an engineering and scientific institution? Hard science has ethical duties to publish truth, no matter whom it chafes. This institution’s secrecy casts shadows on all its research or academic work. Which studies were influenced by a phone call from a big donor? — Harvard divinity School gained international credibility by returning $2.5 million from the anti-Semitic United Arabs president. Yet Virginia Tech won’t open a file folder to do its scientific and humane duty.”
More news from a reader about V-Tech and some shady dealing there that might..or might not..have anything to do with this story. But, I want to check it out a bit. Stay tuned….and by the way, I do revisit posts to add material and links. I’ll let you know by changing the dates on the post.

I need to organize the V-Tech material so that the major posts show up as widgets – I’m just not that blog-savvy yet. Maybe, some one reading this labor of love can give me a little ‘puter advice as a reward??



  1. I am a member of VT Class of 1962 (though I actually graduated in 1964). I joined the NRA while I was a student and target shooting has been my lifelong hobby. I think the “Gun Free School ” mantra adopted by the school’s administrators is the most stupid, pollyanna-ish kind of nonsense. It is of a piece with Political Correctness and Multi-Cultural malarkey. Truth does exist.

    The suggestion of a conspiracy on the part of a Drug Company is a popular menace in current literature. John LeCarre’s novel “The Constant Gardener” comes to mind.

    Far more likely is simply the impulse toward CYA on the part of the school administration and Mr. Cho’s department. Despite opinions on soverign immunity, the issues of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance ought to apply.

    I watched the televised memorial convocation. I thought the aggressive defensive posture of “we are not to blame” exposed their culpability.

  2. Yes – I was inclined to cut them slack for the first couple of days; then when I saw their attitude, I felt compelled to look further.

    I am told by a lawyer that there he thinks there is a case for gross negligence, but the question is Steger is a powerful player – his resume is linked in an article I wrote for Lew Rockwell, Steger vs. Winsett… And a whole complex of police state issues are attached to this incident – which is why I am blogging on it. I suspect that unless their feet are held to the fire, they might waltz and we’ll get more of the same..more bureaucracy.and multiplication of laws…

    which leave people with a false sense that something’s been done. Fewer laws and more responsibility needed…

  3. Lila: As far as I can tell, you’re one of very few bloggers maintaining follow-up on this. Hope you keep it up….Too many unanswered questions and way too many presumptions made by the media. The Cho story is definitely in need of persistent investigative critics to search for the truth.

  4. Yes, I think so.

    But, people will tell you you are a conspiracist if you ask a question from the point of view of something less than (or more than, depending on your viewpoint) structural…

    It’s always about structures, never people.

    Why is that? Why can’t it be both? Just because some conspiracy theories aren’t true, it doesn’t follow that there are no conspiracies. I’d like to post on that by the way.

    The Conspiracy against Conspiracies…

  5. The Tech shooting happened because Tech failed to supply Cubicle Level Protection or inform students of a problem with the physiology of sight that was discovered because it caused mental breaks for office workers.

    The cubicle was designed to deal with the problem.

    Cho created the “special circumstances” for Subliminal Distraction exposure when he sat in the common room as others walked close beside him as he studied.

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