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Virginia Tech cadets circulate petition to name dorm after April 16th victim

Three cadets want dorm named after Matthew La Porte

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Three Virginia Tech cadets are circulating a petition to have a dorm named after a cadet who died in the April 16th tragedy.

The online petition by Andy King, Nicholas Oberle and Tristan Nguyen calls for the now under-construction Corps of Cadets residence hall to be named after Cadet Matthew La Porte, who played tenor drum for the Regimental Band, the Highty-Tighties.

La Porte "made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of his fellow students during the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007," according to the petition.

The petition claims buildings, such as the new residence hall, are typically named after "whoever make the largest monetary donation."

University spokeswoman Tracy Vosburgh released a statement saying, "The university understands and respects the well-intentioned desire to name the new residence hall after Mathew La Porte. As we reflect on the observance of the 10th year since the April 16 tragedy, our thoughts are centered on the memories of each of the 32 lives lost on that day." 

"For 10 years, we have remembered and honored them together, because each individual was equally precious and their collective memory has become woven into the fabric of our community's strength. Any future tributes and memorials considered by the university would seek to recognize and honor all 32 individuals equally, out of respect for their sacrifice, their family's loss, and our spirit of community," it reads.

In their petition, King, Oberle and Nguyen say, "it is not our intention to single out one victim of the 32 from the 4/16 tragedy."

"We want to honor Matthew La Porte because it seems appropriate to us to name a cadet residence hall after a cadet," continues the petition.

Virginia Tech's "Policy and Procedures" available onilne spells out its policy for naming buildings in tribute to individuals.

While some campus buildings are names for donors, the majority are named in honor of historic figures, including past Virginia Tech presidents. Burruss Hall, the main administration building on campus, is named after eighth president Julian Ashby Burruss. 

Not all buildings are named. The last building named was Steger Hall in November 2016. It was named after long-time Virginia Tech President Emeritus Charles W. Steger.