monday august 25, 2008 blacksburg, va.
news CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING NAMES DIRECTOR Virginia Tech’s Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching has announced that Peter Doolittle of Christiansburg, Va., will begin serving as its new director.
COLLEGIATE TIMES INTEREST MEETING Students interested in writing for the news section of the Collegiate Times should come to a meeting in 145 Squires Student Center at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 27.
NEWCOMERS TO BOARD OF VISITORS Three new members have joined the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors this month. Freddy Cobb and Calvin Jamison from Richmond, Va., and Douglas Fahl from Loudoun County, Va., will be serving on the board this year.
sports JASON TAYLOR OUT 10-14 DAYS An MRI showed that Washington Redskins’ defensive end, Jason Taylor, has a sprain in his right knee. Taylor suﬀered the knee injury in the second quarter of Washington’s 47-3 loss at the Carolina Panthers on Saturday, August 23.
Visit the CT online to vote for 2008 Best of Blacksburg and enter to win an 8GB iPod Touch
weather SCATTERED T-STORMS high 81, low 62
corrections If you see something in today’s paper that needs to be corrected, please e-mail our public editor at email@example.com, or call 540.231.9865.
coming up TOMORROW’S CT The Board of Visitors meets to discuss Tech’s future. Check out the CT’s full coverage. Check out PDF documents of the complaints against Virginia Tech from Security on Campus, Inc.
index News.....................2 Features................4 0pinions................5
Classifieds..............8 Sports....................7 Sudoku..................8
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105th year • issue 1
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“Dear Future Residents:” Part One T. REES SHAPIRO & BECCA THOMAS
ct news staﬀ Peter Sommers greatly anticipated his first trip to the United States. He came stateside to study as an British exchange student at Virginia Tech from the University of Sheffield. His dream trip had been smooth sailing. But when it came time to move in to his new apartment complex at Smith’s Landing off Plantation road, there was a slight hitch: Construction at Smith’s Landing was incomplete. His apartment had not passed building code inspection.
ON THE WEB Check out www.collegiatetimes.com to see Smith’s Landing’s building inspection report and e-mails from Smith’s Landing to “future residents.” Construction began for Smith’s Landing Apartment homes began Nov. 2007. However, delays resulting from constructor’s error pushed back the intended move-in date for the 284unit “luxury community” from early Aug. 2008 to a limited opening of just two of five buildings. This left unlucky leasees like Sommers and others temporarily left without a place to live. Blacksburg building official Cathy Cook has worked closely with Armada Hoffler, a multi-billion-dollar development company managing the Smith’s Landing project. She personally inspects building projects for the Town of Blacksburg planning and building office and issues final build-
ing code approval. Building inspection documents provided to the Collegiate Times by Cook show APTCO, the construction company contracted by Armada Hoffler for Smith’s Landing, diverted from original draft plans which Cook says resulted in delays, inadequately safe conditions for occupancy and multiple “failed” building inspections. Anne McClung, Blacksburg’s planning and building director, said the top priority for large scale projects such as Smith’s Landing are the residents physical safety. “Our perspective from the town is building safety,” McClung said. “We’re out there to ensure that all aspects of the building code have been met, and that every unit in the site as a whole is ready for occupancy for the students.” Leasees received an e-mail Monday Aug. 11 titled “Dear Future Resident.” The message explained move in would be delayed because the complex was not granted a temporary certificate of occupation from the town of Blacksburg. The e-mail said they learned of the delay just four days before on Aug. 7. It says a tentative move in date was set for Aug. 22, one week after the original move in date set for Aug. 15. However, inspection records show delays occurred over the span of the entire project, not just the last weeks in Aug.ust. Brian Lucas, vice president for development at Armada Hoffler, had a different explanation. Lucas said unforeseen site conditions like undiscovered rock formations underneath the site, harsh weather and a tight schedule, led to excessive delays. Lucas also said critical construction materials did not arrive on time to the site. Smith’s Landing intended to apply
One of Blacksburg’s newest housing developments, Smith’s Landing, was slated to accept residents in midAugust. Construction and inspection issues prevented students from moving in before the start of classes. for a comprehensive temporary C/O for all five buildings. But in the middle of the summer, the complex stopped signing leases for two buildings and only partly filled another because of foreseeable delays in construction. Smith’s Landing then decided to apply
for temporary C/O’s by individual buildings in order to allow students to move into completed buildings while others remained unoccupied. Building B opened on time. McClung said Building C received its temporary C/O in the afternoon of August 22nd.
Building A is still being constructed and is allegedly opening in mid to late September depending upon further delays. Buildings D and E have no scheduled opening. By Aug. 15, residents of 54 units
see HOUSING, page two
Widow brings suit in Morva case Tech invests CALEB FLEMING
ct new river valley editor Cindy McFarland, the widow of a Montgomery Regional Hospital security guard killed two years ago by William Morva, has filed a civil action lawsuit against three deputies and a Montgomery County sheriff. McFarland, who filed the suit in Montgomery County Circuit Court on July 18, asserted that Sheriff Tommy Whitt, Capt. Robert Hall, Lt. B.J. Smith and Deputy Russell Quesenberry did not take appropriate measures to prevent the death of Derrick McFarland. McFarland is suing for $9.8 million in damages. The lawsuit states that Whitt, Hall, Smith and Quesenberry were responsible for the secure housing, supervision and control of incarcerated inmates at the Montgomery County Jail. This would also consist of the transportation of inmates to medical facilities, including the transportation of Morva to Montgomery Regional Hospital. McFarland’s suit also notes of William Morva’s brother, Michael Morva, imprisoned at Montgomery County Jail for a five-day period in Jan. 2006. Before bonding out, Michael Morva and William Morva, incarcerated at the same time, had numerous conversations in various cells and dayrooms. The suit states that Smith listened to a taped phone conversation after Michael Morva’s release from prison, in which he heard the two discussing the pros and cons of a “Plan B.” This later served as evidence proving conspiracy in Michael Morva’s aid to help William Morva’s escape.
On the date of this escape, William Morva claimed to have fallen and requested immediate medical attention, noting soreness in his wrists and ankle. Agents of the defendant provided a clinical MORVA examination of William Morva, finding that he did not have visible fractures but still warranted hospital attention. William Morva was escorted to the hospital on Aug. 20, 2006, by Quesenberry and placed in a waist chain with just one handcuff on one arm, because of his alleged wrist injury. He was not required to wear leg irons. The lawsuit claims that once at the hospital, Quesenberry ignored several shifty maneuvers by William Morva, in which he attempted to walk on the weapon side of his escort and repeatedly dropped his discharge papers. After incessant complaining, William Morva was granted permission to use a restroom in the hospital unaccompanied, a decision by Quesenberry that receives considerable scrutiny in the suit. In the restroom, Morva dismantled a metal toilet paper dispenser, flushed the toilet twice to signify that he had finished, and awaited Quesenberry’s entrance. He removed his orange prison pants and tossed them in the corner of the restroom, out of his reach. Hearing the flushes, Quesenberry entered to move his detainee, immediately noticing William Morva standing in the single-person restroom without his jumpsuit pants on. After
agreeing to help William Morva retrieve them, Quesenberry was struck from behind and knocked unconscious by the dispenser. Morva then stole and loaded Quesenberry’s pistol, fatally shooting McFarland, a hospital security guard who had heard commotion in the restroom moments before. The morning after the incident at the hospital, Morva was spotted in Blacksburg, creating a dangerous situation for faculty and students. Morva killed Sheriff’s Cpl. Eric Sutphin, a bicycle patrolman participating in the manhunt for Morva on Huckleberry trail. Mary Tate, an Abingdon, Va. attorney, is representing McFarland. Though Tate did offer a brief statement, she did not care to discuss the case in depth, noting that going into specifics could compromise the suit before it was heard in court. “McFarland’s death was preventable, had basic escort procedures and common sense been followed,” Tate said, “especially in dealing with a dangerous inmate known to have used firearms in the commission of his crimes.” Elizabeth Dillon, a Salem attorney representing all four defendants, firmly disagrees with Tate’s assertions. “In my personal opinion, the defendants are not responsible for the death of Mr. McFarland,” Dillon said. “I disagree with her assessment of the facts, in that he did not have a violent history. I also disagree with her assessment as to her preventability of this.” Dillon’s firm was selected to represent these clients under the Virginia risk plan, providing a defense that pays for damages under certain
see MCFARLAND, page two
Cadets’ parade marks end of training T. REES SHAPIRO
ct campus editor The Corps of Cadets honored the completion of first-week training for freshmen cadets with a pass and review parade. The parade finalized a week of intense physical and mental training. Led by Cadet Regimental Executive Officer James Nilan, the upperclassmen Cadre leaders taught many of the freshmen new skills, which they displayed for their parents and friends on the Drillfield on Saturday. Col. Rock Roszak, associate director of Corps of Cadets alumni relations, expressed the difficulty of the training regimen and the importance of the tradition. “Now remember this is 240 some cadets who have probably never marched a step in their life, probably never had to take care of a uniform,” Roszak said. ‘It’s the culmination of their weeklong training period and they will demonstrate all that they’ve learned in that week.” Vice President for Student Affairs Zenobia Hikes spoke to the freshmen cadets as a representative of the university
administration. She admired their role in Tech’s history as part of the oldest organization on campus, and their dedication to upholding the university’s motto, “Ut Prosim.” “It’s very impressive,” Hikes said. “It’s quite remarkable when you look at the fact that these are first years who just came in a week ago and be able to do a pass and review, and parade and to continue the Virginia tech tradition of bringing dignity to the institution through our corps.” Nilan felt the freshmen worked very hard, and showed significant progress toward becoming excellent cadets. He said he remembered what it felt like to tread the same grass four years ago, and described it as an irreplaceable experience. What he learned in his first week at Tech is still useful to this day. “They were outstanding, all of them.” Nilan said. “(The first week as a cadet is) rough, very hard; very mentally challenging. I did some training this summer for the Marine Corps, and I can 100 percent say that the training I did here as a freshman new cadet was much tougher mentally.”
Members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets stand at attention are the end of the New Cadets’ Parade on Saturday, August 23.
in security updates T. REES SHAPIRO
ct campus editor State-of-the-art LED display screens have been installed in classrooms on campus as part of Virginia Tech’s multi-channel emergency response notification system. The OnAlert boards, designed by Inova Solutions of Charlottesville, Va., fill a gap in communication that Tech’s administration has been seeking to cover. The LED screens will coincide with alerts sent from Tech’s other messaging systems, including VT Alerts, the Virginia Tech Web site and voicemail system. “Anything that improves campus security as an issue has to be positive,” said Vice President of University Relations Larry Hincker. “This is one area of course where there was a hole and had been a hole … many professors don’t normally allow students to have their cell phones on in class and get e-mail … this is a way to say there is a winter storm coming and the university is going to close. We can get that message into the classrooms on these high tech message boards.” Tech purchased 220 OnAlerts for 200 general assignment classrooms and is the first university to implement the LED displays. Individual pricing for boards bought in small quantities is $1,495, but Tech received a discount price per board because of volume purchasing. The entire project, including labor for installation, cost Tech $243,000. The OnAlerts operate using a single Ethernet cord connection. Inova has applied for a patent on its Power Over Ethernet technology. Displays receive data, network synchronization and power all through one Cat-5 cable connected to Tech’s network. This innovation allows boards to simultaneously maintain constant power supply and data retrieval, even if the campus energy grid fails. The displays are crucial informational vehicles, said Inova Vice President Gerry Garmon. Its message boards were used to provide quick emergency information in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001. “The idea is that during an emergency you need to deliver crisp clear information,” Garmon said. “We have a lot of experience with mass transit, where our displays have been used for passenger information like at the Washington Metro.” “During the attack on the Pentagon, the administrators of the Washington Metro were able to use our displays to direct passengers and employees away from the Pentagon.” Major universities in Virginia, Illinois and Washington are employing OnAlerts in exploration or trial phases. President Bush enacted amendments to the Jean Clery Act of school security on Aug. 14. The amendments require universities to implement Emergency Response systems to immediately notify the campus community of a situation. The amendments were drawn in response to the shootings at Tech on April 16, 2007. The amendments include a multi-million dollar federal funding provision to assist schools in acquiring multi-channel notification systems such as VT Alerts text messaging or OnAlert LED Boards. The Department of Education will match university funding raised to purchase and install the new technology. Tech has not yet applied for a matching grant. S. Daniel Carter of Security-On-Campus, an advocacy groupwhiched helped pass the Clery Act says these amendments are “ Veryimportant,” and “potentially lifesaving,.” And improving campus awareness is the “cornerstone,” of the Clery Act.
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