Education Secretary Reinstates Half Of Va. Tech Fine

Ann McClure's picture

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan reinstated half of a fine levied against Virginia Tech, ruling that university officials failed to issue a timely warning on the day of the deadly campus shooting in April 2007.

The Education Department had asked Duncan to reinstate a $55,000 fine that an administrative law judge dismissed in April. The judge had determined that university officials' actions didn't violate the federal Clery Act, which requires schools to issue timely warnings of campus threats.

In a ruling Thursday, Duncan wrote that Tech should pay $27,500 for waiting more than two hours to inform the Blacksburg campus of a fatal shooting of two students in a residence hall. By the time the warning was sent, student gunman Seung-Hui Cho was chaining the doors of a building where he killed 30 additional people before committing suicide.

Duncan said it was alarming that Tech "argues that it had no duty to warn the campus community after the Police Department discovered the bodies of the two students shot in a dormitory, and did not know the identity or location of the shooter."

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