Virginia Tech will offer the families of the 32 students and faculty members killed in the April 16th massacre a one-time payment of $180,000 from a fund created to receive private donations. The fund, called the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, has raised $7.1 million. The University plans to distribute the entire fund to the families of those killed and to the 27 people wounded. Those who were wounded will each receive between $40,000 to $90,000, depending on the severity of their injuries, as well as free tuition at Virginia Tech.
Not everybody is happy with the situation. Some family members believe the amounts are much too low to compensate them for their losses and cover outstanding bills. Several relatives of slain and wounded Virginia Tech students believe that the school was negligent in its response to the tragedy. A taxpayer-financed compensation fund has been recommended, a proposal which Governor Timothy M. Kaine and Virginia legislators said they will consider.
It would be difficult for the families to sue the state, because of the protection afforded by sovereign immunity. Potential damages would be capped at $100,000, although there are no caps on awards if the Virginia attorney general decides to settle a suit out of court. Several state lawmakers said recently that creation of a state compensation fund might be the best solution to avoid lawsuits. I sincerely hope that all of the issues can be resolved so that the families can be adequately compensated.
Source: The Washington Post
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