BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) _ The panel investigating the shootings at Virginia Tech met in closed session Monday and planned to tour the two buildings where 33 people died.
An on-campus briefing for the group was closed under provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act that protect students' privacy and briefings by law enforcement agencies. Reporters for several news organizations had objected, saying it that it did not appear the grounds for closing the meeting were properly applied in this case.
``We want this process to be as public as we can make it,'' W. Gerald Massengill, chairman of the panel, told reporters. ``But I hope you understand there are certain sensitive materials that are allowed for within Virginia law.''
Massengill said the university made the decision to also close panel members' planned tour of West Ambler Johnston Hall, the dormitory where the first two students were killed April 16, and the classrooms of Norris Hall, where gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed 25 more students and five faculty members before committing suicide.
The panel was scheduled for an open session later in the morning that would last through the afternoon.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine created the eight-member panel, asking it to gather information about the gunman, how the events unfolded, and how the state and other agencies responded.
Additional meetings are set for next month in northern Virginia and the Charlottesville area. Kaine had said he hoped the panel could complete its review before classes resume in August.
The university also is doing its own reviews of safety and communications procedures that it expects to complete by late August, university President Charles Steger has said.