Virginia Tech argues that Cho’s actions were not predictable. Well, that is not what the experts say. Take a look at the analysis of Virginia Tech’s response to Cho’s warning signs done by internationally known and respected mental health expert, Dr. Gerald Amada. Dr. Amada is the former director of the Mental Health Program, City College of San Francisco. He was speaking at the National Association for University and College Center Directors, on October 17, 2008.
“Even a cursory review of the events that led up to the massacre (at Virginia Tech), as delineated in the report of the governor’s panel, indicates the university’s abiding faith in three general approaches that it abortively used for dealing with his behavioral waywardness. (First), was to resiliently accommodate his strange and offensive behavior by, for example, arranging to have him individually tutored by a department chairperson, an arrangement that was evidently endorsed by the university’s so-called care team, a diverse group of staff representing the Counseling Service, Residence Life, Legal Counsel, Judicial Affairs, and Student Life, that investigated the case of Mr. Cho and provided guidance to instructors who were struggling to deal with his misconduct. This accommodation of providing individual instruction was, please keep in mind, adopted after Mr. Cho’s menacing presence in her class had caused an English instructor such terrible anguish that she threatened to resign.”
“The (second) tack repeatedly taken by Cho’s instructors and others was to prod, cajole and shoehorn him into psychotherapy; to the point that one instructor actually offered to chaperone him to the service. This particular tack of championing psychological treatment to Mr. Cho, although no doubt well-intentioned, should have been, in my view, recognized by someone at the university as terribly misguided and worse, doomed to fail with adverse consequences of some kind in its wake.”
“The third (and most dangerous) tack taken by the university in dealing with Mr. Cho was to eschew using the disciplinary system of the school to admonish, warn and if necessary discipline him for his chronic and flagrant violations of the code of student conduct … When Cho stalked (harassed), he was given a tempered warning by a police officer but no direct admonition or warning came from Judicial Affairs or a designated administrator with disciplinary authority, ordinarily the offices most responsible and effective in meting out discipline. When Mr. Cho took impermissible photographs of female students in the class, he was reported to a dean, who clearly stated in an email message to the instructor that Cho’s behavior fell under the rubric of disorderly conduct, meaning, I would assume, that it should meet with some form of discipline. What was the response to this incident? The Judicial Affairs officer agrees with a plan to once again refer Cho to the counseling program, suggests nothing about the use of discipline and limits her remarks to (and I quote), “I would make it clear to him that any similar behavior in the future will be referred.” Presumably, she means referred to the Judicial Affairs office or to counseling. Once again Cho walks away with impunity by not being held accountable for his misconduct. … the university was fixated, it seems, on getting Mr. Cho repaired in the psychological service rather than on harnessing and correcting his disruptive and frightening behavior through the use of disciplinary measures. …”
Dr. Amada also adds the following: “In his book called Moral Mazes the author, sociologist Robert Jackal, points out that one of the greatest fears that plague corporate managers is that they will be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and will not be able to outrun their mistakes when blame-times arrive.”
Amada then adds, “Tech President Charles Steger and his administration were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time—clearly, the school is twisting and turning everyway possible to explain its failure to act decisively when confronted with Cho’s threatening behavior.” (To be continued)