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Massacre fine: Virginia Tech fine again over 2007 massacre's warning time policy

Virginia Tech: Burruss Hall
Virginia Tech: Burruss Hall

A massacre fine was placed on Virginia Tech by the United States government, via United States Education Secretary Arne Duncan, on Friday. It is the second fine realized by Virginia Tech in relation to the on-campus massacre on April 16, 2007 that left 33 persons dead, according to an ABC News report on Friday.

The fine of $5,000 has been given after a fine of $27,500 was approved by Duncan some 13 months ago. At issue, at the time of the first fine, was Virginia Tech’s alleged failure to give a timely warning about the shootings that occurred in 2007. The current issue is regarding the federal education officials’ claim that Virginia Tech had inconsistent timely warning policies when the massacre occurred in 2007.

The United States’ Clery Act requires educational facilities to issue timely warning of any campus threat, and it has been claimed that Virginia Tech did not follow this requirement.

The Clery Act security report from 2007 regarding the incident stated that the Virginia Tech police was to issue warnings. However, there was a separate policy within that employees and students didn’t know about. The internal policy stated that campus warnings would be issued by the university relations department along with the police.

Originally, $27,500 was sought by the Office of Federal Student Aid in the second fine as well as the first, but a judge reduced the second fine to only $5,000. Duncan went with the smaller fine because he decided that the inconsistent policies at the school were not a conspicuously bad violation of the Clery Act.

Virginia Tech will possibly appeal the first fine of $27,500 and the current fine of $5,000 according to a school spokesperson. Virginia Tech has been quite critical of federal officials for not being specific as to what a timely warning is.

Families of persons killed have blamed the school for students still being killed two-and-a-half hours after the initial shooting. Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech in 2007, killing 33 persons and himself.

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