Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Virginia Tech fined $55,000 in massacre of 32 in 2007

"The Department of Education fined Virginia Tech $55,000 for failing to warn the Blacksburg, Va., campus quickly after two students were shot in an April 16, 2007, rampage
  • that left 32 people and the gunman dead.

The failure warrants a fine "far in excess" of that, a letter notifying the university said, but $27,500 per violation was the most allowed by law. The university also was cited for failing to follow its own security policy, required by law, on crime warnings.

The department cited the school for violations of the Clery Act, which requires schools that receive federal aid to issue a "timely warning" when a serious crime is committed on campus. The law is named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University freshman murdered in her dorm room in 1986.

Virginia Tech said in a written statement it will appeal. "Neither the Department of Education nor the Clery Act defines 'timely,' " the statement said. "The university actions on April 16 were well within the standards and practices in effect at that time."

  • A survivor of the shootings, Virginia Tech graduate Colin Goddard, applauded the fine.

"I think what's important is it was the maximum they could fine," said Goddard, 25, who was shot four times by Virginia Tech student Seung Hui Cho. He is assistant director of federal legislation with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "It's not a surprise.

  • I knew that the school had acted too slowly four years ago."

At about 7:15 a.m. on the day of the rampage, Cho fatally shot two students in a residence hall. At 9:26 a.m., school administrators e-mailed students and staff to say there had been a shooting; the e-mail did not say the killer had not been identified.

  • Between 9:40 a.m. and 9:51 a.m., Cho shot 47 more people in Norris Hall, then fatally shot himself.

The Education Department letter says students and staff continued to move freely around campus, unaware of the danger.

  • "The facts that the assailant had not been identified, a weapon had not been found at the scene and that bloody footprints led away from the bodies strongly indicated that the shooter was still at large, and posed an ongoing threat," Education official Mary Gust wrote....

Virginia Tech said that its own guidelines at the time of the shootings said 48 hours would be an acceptable time frame in which to inform a campus of a serious crime. The school complained it is being held accountable for a standard adopted after its own tragedy."...

Stumbleupon StumbleUpon


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home