On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech (VT) student Seung-Hui Cho went on a campus shooting spree that claimed the lives of 32 people and wounded 25 others before taking his own life. VT has long been criticized for waiting 2 hours before announcing to the campus community their knowledge of the first shooting deaths in what has now come to be known as The Virginia Tech Massacre. VT’s first campus warning came after Cho had already barricaded himself inside a campus building and began his relentless murdering of students and faculty. The U.S. Department of Education fined VT the maximum amount allowable, $55,000, for not issuing a timelier warning to the campus; and VT has been in the process of appealing that decision. Today, Virginia Tech officials reported that the U.S. Department of Education’s administrative law judge overturned and eliminated that $55,000 levied by the Department of Education.
In a statement from VT Associate Vice President for University Relations Lawrence Hincker:
Administrative Judge Ernest Canellos determined that university actions on the morning of April 16, 2007, after the shootings in Ambler Johnston residence hall, satisfied the requirements of the “timely warning” provision of the Clery Act.
“This was not an unreasonable amount of time in which to issue a warning. …. if the later shootings at Norris Hall had not occurred, it is doubtful that the timing of the email would have been perceived as too late.” said Canellos.
While we are satisfied with the ruling that overturns the department’s finding, there is no glee. A horrendous event happened on this campus almost five years ago. Profound sadness remains. We continue to grieve for the families of victims killed or injured by a deranged young man.
Virginia Tech is still appealing a Virginia jury’s March 14, 2012 ruling that found VT negligent in those shootings, and awarded $4 million to each of two families bringing lawsuits against the school.
(cover image: The Virginia Tech logo, made of 32 daisies, is shown at a memorial to the 32 students and faculty killed in the Virginia Tech shootings, at the Drill Field of the school’s campus in Blacksburg, Virginia)
- Va. Tech appeals negligence court ruling in 2007 student shooting deaths
- Funeral services today for slain Virginia Tech Police Officer (webcast)
- Virginia Tech – the aftermath
- 2 dead in shooting on Virginia Tech Campus
- Kids report gunman on Virginia Tech campus
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