The U.S. Department of Education has scheduled a December hearing to take up Virginia Tech’s appeal of fines it received for failing to notify campus sooner during a 2007 shooting rampage in which a student killed 32 students and faculty, the Associated Press reports. Department spokeswoman Sara Gast said the hearing will take place Dec. 7-9. Several survivors and victims’ family members plan to travel to Washington to testify. The school appealed the $55,000 sanction in April. Virginia Tech officials have denied wrongdoing, saying the department is holding them to higher standards than were in place the day of the shootings…

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staff and wire services reports