Feds: Virginia Tech violated notification law in 2007 massacre

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) found that Virginia Tech broke federal campus security laws by waiting too long to notify students during the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, reports the Associated Press. Virginia Tech disputed the department’s findings, saying university officials met standards in effect at the time of the shootings three years ago and that the report is colored by “hindsight bias.” It argues that the government is trying to retroactively apply regulations that were added two years after the shooting. ED’s May 18 report is the latest to criticize the school’s response to the killings of 33 people, including the student gunman, on April 16, 2007. The school could be fined up to $55,000 for two violations alleged in the preliminary report, but no one will face criminal charges, according to the university official who drafted the response. Federal officials will consider the response from the school before they finalize their conclusion. ED’s report said Va. Tech violated the Clery Act’s requirement that universities offer a timely warning when possible danger arises. About two hours elapsed between the shootings of two students at a dormitory and an eMail alert to the campus, sent at 9:26 a.m. The delay was previously criticized in a state report and has drawn the ire of victims’ families. ED said the warnings “were not prepared or disseminated in a manner to give clear and timely notice of the threat to the health and safety of campus community members.” The university countered that before the shootings at its Blacksburg campus, federal officials had never defined what “timely” meant in the Clery Act…

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