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      Open letter to the Virginia Tech community from President Steger regarding homicide case

      BLACKSBURG,Va., Feb. 11, 2014 - The following is an open letter to the Virginia Techcommunity from President Charles W. Steger. It was sent to the universitycommunity shortly after police officially identified the victim in this case.

      Dearmembers of the Virginia Tech Community,

      It iswith heavy heart that I confirm that our community has been visited with atragedy.

      Acurrently enrolled student has been charged with the murder of anothercurrently enrolled student, both of whom reside off-campus. Also, a recentgraduate has been charged with accessory after the fact.

      Attimes like this, we are at a loss for words to explain or understand such aheinous act. We know such crime should not happen in a special place likeBlacksburg, yet we also know from our own history and that of similar townsthroughout our nation that crime can visit even the most placid communities.

      Thosewho knew{}Samanata Shrestha, a senior majoring in biological sciences fromVienna, Va., confirm her zest for school and love of Virginia Tech. One teacherdescribed her as a "faculty member's dream" because of herexceptional scholarship, love of learning, and "she always had asmile." A University Honors student,{}Samanata had minors in medicineand society and psychology. She was inducted into Who's Who Among AmericanUniversities and Colleges 2013. That an inspiring young woman would lose herlife to violent crime hurts beyond belief.

      Weextend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and will assist inany way possible. No amount of words can counteract their grief, but know thatthe university administrators and everyone within this community feels thispain.

      I askthat you care for each other - indeed, be on the lookout for each other in thisstressful time. Know that the university has the resources to help you copewith your responses and emotions as we all process the tragic loss of thisvibrant young life. I urge you to counsel your colleagues and fellow studentsand to seek help if at all necessary. Individuals or groups with special needsare encouraged to contact the Cook Counseling Center at 231-6557 and/or utilizethe resources noted at the bottom of this email.

      Sincerely,Charles W. Steger

      Thosein the university community who may wish assistance or desire counselingsupport may contact:

      Referralsto a campus cleric may be done through the Dean of Students Office at 540-231-3787.

      This story can be found onthe Virginia Tech News website: http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/02/021114-president-letter.html