Hokies return seeking routine


Hokies return seeking routine


<b>Some students able to forgive</a>

By: Erin France, State & National Editor
Posted: 4/24/07

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The first day back to class for Virginia Tech students began with a morning ceremony honoring the 32 students and faculty killed by senior English major Seung-Hui Cho.

Thirty-two white balloons were released with the strike of a bell in front of 33 small stones placed in a semi-circle on the wide expanse of the field known as the Drillfield.

The 33rd marker, placed between Matthew Gwaltney&#39;s and Dan O&#39;Neil&#39;s, was for Cho, who killed himself at the end of his rampage; it was removed later Monday.

There still is a sizable showing of flowers and notes in the place where his stone lay.

"He was still a person, too," junior Matthew Quinn said. "He was still a Hokie."

In this community of more than 25,000 students, there are signs of forgiveness toward the gunman, but it is not a consensus.

There were not many on campus willing to talk to the media Monday, and while the campus population spiked from last week, it was far from a normal spring day.

"There are a lot of students back, but this is pretty sparse," graduate student Amy Tanner said. "I think it will be just a slow, long week."

Instructors received e-mails from the Va. Tech administration encouraging them to mention last week&#39;s events in their classes.

Ting Cai, a graduate student, is teaching a general chemistry class today and said he cannot predict how many of his students will attend.

"We&#39;re only going to meet for 15 minutes," he said. "I think I&#39;ll probably start with a moment of silence."

Teachers are using Monday and Tuesday to assess the grades and conditions of their students before finishing the semester.

Exams are optional in calculating students&#39; final grades.

Andrew Blando, a junior oceanic engineer, said he still is debating the different options.

"I don&#39;t want to feel like I&#39;m taking advantage of the situation," he said.

The students remaining on campus Monday were searching for normalcy.

Many students experienced abbreviated classes along with reminders of the last week, such as signs on the outside of all academic and residence halls curtailing the media&#39;s presence.

"I know in my first class there was quite a bit of awkward silence," Quinn said. "Being able to go back to class helps, though."

The somber atmosphere is punctuated by requests for media interviews, many of which were turned down, although Quinn acknowledged the importance of broadcasting information.

He said he just found out Sunday that he knew one of the victims when he saw her picture on CNN.

"I was just in shock for, like, five minutes," he said.

Authorities have named Cho the gunman in one of two university shootings last Monday.

The first incident occurred about 7 a.m. at the West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall, where a resident adviser and a female student were shot.

Police have identified Cho as the gunman in the second shooting two hours later that left 30 people dead at Norris Hall, an academic building. Cho then committed suicide. One of the guns used in the second shooting also was used in the first.

There is a heavy police presence on campus as the investigation continues.

Campus tours resumed Monday, although guides had to detour to avoid the police tape surrounding Norris Hall.

"This is a great school," was repeated to prospective students and their parents by professors and current students.

And the decreased numbers in the student body this week might not indicate next semester&#39;s trend.

"I don&#39;t know many people who weren&#39;t coming back," Blando said.

For the Blacksburg community, it will be a long time before they can walk through campus without thinking about the 33 dead students and faculty.

"It&#39;s always going to be in the recesses of my mind," Blando said.


Original Source: <a href=http://media.www.dailytarheel.com/media/storage/paper885/news/2007/04/24/StateNational/Hokies.Return.Seeking.Routine-2876165.shtml>The Daily Tar Heel - April 24, 2007</a>


Erin France


The Daily Tar Heel




Sara Hood


Kevin Schwartz <kschwartz@unc.edu>




Erin France, “Hokies return seeking routine,” The April 16 Archive, accessed June 10, 2023, https://april16archive.org/items/show/744.