Virginia Tech faces $55,000 fine for 2007 shootings response

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 29, 2011 8:17 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Education said on Tuesday it will fine Virginia Tech $55,000 for waiting more than two hours to alert the campus of an April 2007 shooting.

Two students were killed by gunfire in a residence hall the morning of April 16, 2007. Soon after the university notified the campus that a shooting had occurred, student Seung Hui Cho continued his rampage that left 32 people dead and more wounded in a classroom building elsewhere on the campus.

"Had an appropriate timely warning been sent earlier to the campus community, more individuals could have acted on the information and made decisions about their own safety," an education department official wrote in a letter to the school.

The fine is the maximum allowed for violations of a federal law, the Clery Act, which requires timely warnings of crimes on campus.

The department found that Virginia Tech's violation warranted "a fine far in excess" of what is currently allowed by law.

The fine will be imposed on April 29 unless the school contests it before then.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton; Editing by Peter Bohan)