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Virginia Tech Crisis Christina Wisz Wendy Alinor Cristina Contreras

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1 Virginia Tech Crisis Christina Wisz Wendy Alinor Cristina Contreras
Karina Chowdhury Brett Bond Alex Sipala

2 Background Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, Va.
There is a population of 35,000 in southwest Virginia near Roanoke. The University is also known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University or VPI and SU. a

3 Background The campus has more than 125 buildings and 2,600 acres and an airport. There are roughly 31,000 full time students. Virginia Tech is a large school with smaller campuses throughout Virginia, Dominican Republic and Switzerland.

4 Background Virginia tech was founded in 1872.
The shield that was etched in stone was made to embody the schools motto “That I May Serve”. The president that opened the school was named Charles Landon Carter Minor.

5 Prodromes Cho Seung-Hui was responsible for the shooting of the Virginia Tech massacre. Cho Seung-Hui was born in South Korea. At age 8, he moved to the United States in with his family. Cho’s older sister was highly praised at home for going to an Ivy League school, Princeton, to study economics. Cho’s parents never spoke to him about going to Virginia Tech. It was a very big deal in South Korea to attend an Ivy League school.

6 Prodromes In 2005 Cho frightened his English classmates and teacher.
He would write about death and barely speak in class. He constantly ignored his classmates. He would eat alone and ride his bicycle in circles in the parking lot.

7 Prodromes The director of the creative-writing program of Cho’s school tried to seek help for Cho. In an interview she said he was “arrogant and obnoxious and so withdrawn that she felt she was talking to a hole.” Cho refused counseling. The director notified the Division of Student affairs but since Cho was 18, the University could not insist on a student getting help.

8 Prodromes In 2006 Cho wrote two very strange plays titled “Richard McBeef” and “Mr. Brownstone.” Cho’s English teacher Licinda Roy knew he was troubled. She contacted the University officials, but Cho had no mention of mental health issues or police reports.

9 Virginia Tech Massacre
First shooting occurred at the West Ambler Johnston Hall on April 16, 2007. Emily Hilscher and Ryan Clark were shot on the fourth floor. Police marked off the West Johnston Hall, they thought Hilschers boyfriend was the subject. At 9 a.m. the killer sent a rant of 23 disturbing video messages and 29 photographs to be delivered to NBC. At 9:26 a.m. the University sent out an telling staff and students about the shooting.

10 Virginia Tech Massacre
At 9:45 a.m. two hours after the first shooting, Cho opened fire in Norris Hall. He killed 25 students and professors. Once the police reached the scene Cho had killed himself. At 9:55 a.m. the University sent out a second stating: “a gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows.” At 10:15 a.m. the college sent out a third saying classes were cancelled and to remain indoors.

11 Virginia Tech Massacre

12 Virginia Tech Massacre

13 Target Audiences The target audiences during the crisis were the 30,000+ active students, administration and faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Enabling Publics: Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger and Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee. Virginia Tech Board of Visitors: composed of 14 members, 13 of which are appointed by the governor. The 14th member is the president of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

14 Target Audiences Functional Publics: Virginia Tech Staff, Faculty, students, student government and vendors Normative Publics: Virginia Tech Alumni, Virginia Tech boosters, parents, Virginia Tech sponsors and the surrounding community Diffused Publics: The media

15 Corporate Culture Mission Statement: “Virginia Polytechnic and State University is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation and the world community. The discovery and dissemination of the new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve quality of life.”

16 Corporate Culture Virginia Tech offers 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to all of their students. They offer the largest number of degree programs in the state of Virginia. The average GPA of an incoming freshman is a 3.98. The University provides an “intense working climate” for their students. Virginia Tech was compared to sought after Universities such as the University of Michigan and Purdue University, both of which have very good academic reputations.

17 Did Virginia Tech use effective crisis management?
The Management International Website stated that Virginia Tech did not plan well during the crisis. President Steger said there was no need to notify everyone on campus about the crisis. He assumed the gunman had already left the campus. Steger claimed students in transit could not be reached.

18 Did Virginia Tech use effective Crisis Management?
Virginia Tech did not feel the need to lock down the school. The school held a press conference with inadequate information. They made it obvious that their preplanned crisis plan was not ready to handle a crisis of this magnitude. They claimed they had evidence to prove the shooter had left the premises.

19 Did Virginia Tech use effective Crisis Management?
The two most important hours in the entire crisis was the time between the two shootings. Jonathan Clay, a PR Professional, claimed that Virginia Tech was more concerned with “crisis management rather than the safety of their school. They should have been more concerned with the safety of their school and ready for a response to any what if questions.”

20 Crisis Recovery With these flaws in their crisis plan, it was difficult for Virginia Tech to recover. The PR Agency that Virginia Tech hired to help with the crisis was Hill & Knowlton. Hill & Knowlton claimed the police officer did not do a good job of displaying care and emotion to the audience while addressing the situation. The campus-wide communication system failed to reach everyone on campus. Virginia Tech failed to communicate with key stakeholders.

21 Crisis Communication Theory
The Apologia Theory was used after the Virginia Tech crisis. They used the strategy of conciliation: they made some mistakes during the crisis, they are very sorry, and seek forgiveness. Situational Crisis Communication Theory: This was a high response crisis. Proper crisis communication strategies along with better decision-making could have prevented it and saved lives. The initial response immediately following the crisis was good. Virginia tech provided counseling and hosted memorial services and had a valid and credible spokesperson.

22 Key Messages: How did the company deal with the media?
Virginia tech handled the media poorly at first. Their first interview was sloppy. They were ill advised of the situation and based most of their answers off of assumption. Students were encouraged to not speak with the media.

23 Key Messages: What type of media strategy was used?
Virginia Tech tried to remain in control of the media even though the media was everywhere. They used the President, Virginia Tech website and s to speak with one voice. They also made sure to keep the police up to date on everything possible.

24 Key Messages: Did it disseminate news effectively to its various publics?
At Virginia Tech, the lack of aggressive, timely communication may have cost lives. University officials spent more than two hours in internal meetings before sending out a first advisory via that didn’t warn students to seek safety but rather asked them to be the eyes and ears of campus security. The University failed to use a loudspeaker system to address students inside their dorm rooms, classrooms or walking on campus that could have let them know about the shootings. They held a flawed press conference with inadequate information. News was not disseminated effectively.

25 Key Messages: Did the company use the three C’s of crisis planning?
Virginia Tech used the three C’s after the crisis was over. Compassion: After the crisis the University offered counseling and students and staff that needed it. They also cancelled class for the rest of the week for students to grieve and held memorial services. Control: The University failed to be in control during the crisis because they failed to plan for a crisis of this magnitude. Credibility: The University did use some credibility during the crisis because they used the President and as their key spokesperson during the crisis. Although they had a credible spokesperson, the information he delivered was poor and unrehearsed.

26 Key Messages: What were the crisis communication strategies?
The only strategy that Virginia Tech could use was corrective action. It was clear that there were mistakes made and Virginia Tech could have responded better during the crisis. Virginia tech worked on enhancing their campus security systems and updated their crisis communication plan after the crisis was over.

27 What Happened after the crisis?
Virginia tech started looking over their security measures. It was a huge wake up call for the University. Communication is key.

28 Was public confidence restored following the crisis?
It took awhile for public confidence to be restored following the crisis due to lack of timeliness and warning students and faculty of the crisis that was happening. A Fox News article stated that “failure of the state’s mental health system and the school’s lack of information about the shooter’s mental health played a role.” The mother of a victim stated that the “president of the University and the campus police chief should be fired.”

29 What happened to the University?
The families of the victims sued Virginia Tech. A judge approved an $11 million settlement that went towards healthcare. The Department of Education fined the University $55,000 for waiting too long to notify students of the shootings.

30 What changes occurred as a result of the crisis?
Other colleges improved their emergency notification systems and programs to speed up reaction times of campus police to a potential shooter on campus. Other universities started using crime-warning systems that could be sent out via cell phone, , and text message. The also are still using the methods of sirens and emergency announcements.

31 Was there any corrective action taken?
No immediate corrective action was taken. Virginia Tech only had an emergency alert system, police did not have power to send alerts themselves. This kept students and faculty from being alerted as quickly as possible.

32 How can the crisis be evaluated?
A run through of the crisis needs to be completed while paying attention to faults and what went wrong or could have gone more smoothly. The crisis could have went a lot smoother and a lot of lives could have been saved if: Campus police had blueprints of every building on campus The alert system had been more efficient and effective The crisis plan was updated more regularly

33 What was learned by the University and others?
Some of the learning experiences that the University has learned are improvements to school safety, and some states have banned students from carrying concealed weapons. There are now 38 states that have banned students from carrying or using weapons in schools. There are now 16 of those states who have banned guns from any part of campus.

34 Strengths/Weaknesses: Identify what you feel were the strengths and weaknesses of the crisis management used in this crisis. Strengths Weaknesses Students reacted well and tried to prevent gunman from entering classrooms When police finally came to Norris Hall, they were effective in reaching injured students and saving others First incident on the dorm was not properly evaluated Not having proper equipment to break down the chained doors Not having an effective and efficient alert system Not giving police power to send messages

35 Quiz 1. When did the Virginia Tech crisis take place?
A. August 5, 2007 B. April 16, 2007 C. December 12, 2007 D. February 28, 2007

36 Quiz 2. Where is Virginia Tech located? A. Bedford, Va.
B. Caroline, Va. C. Richmond, Va. D. Blacksburg, Va.

37 Quiz 3. Where did the first shooting take place? A. A parking lot
B. The library C. A dormitory D. The cafeteria

38 Quiz 4. How long did it take for the University notify the campus about the shooting? A. 2 hours B. 1 hour C. 30 minutes D. 3 hours

39 Quiz 5. Which of the following was a mistake that the University made during the crisis? A. They failed to send out a message immediately notifying students of the shooting B. They failed to lockdown the campus C. They held a press conference with inadequate information D. All of the above

40 Quiz Answers 1. When did the Virginia Tech crisis take place?
Answer- B: April 16, 2007 2. Where is Virginia Tech located? Answer- D: Blacksburg, Va. 3. Where did the first shooting take place? Answer- C: A dormitory 4. How long did it take for the University to notify students about the shooting? Answer- A: 2 hours 5. Which of the following was a mistake made by the University during the crisis? Answer- D: All of the above

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