Dept. of Ed Reverses Decision On Va. Tech Fines

BLACKSBURG, Va.— Virginia did not violate the Clery Act and won’t pay a fine for failing to adequately notify students during the 2007 massacre on its campus, a Department of Education administrative law judge ruled.

The university was facing a $55,000 fine in an earlier Department of Education ruling, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Administrative Judge Ernest Canellos determined that the warnings issued on the morning of the shooting were not too late. “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,” Canellos said, according to a statement from Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech did not violate federal law because the E-mail notification was sent out by the university communications office and not the university police department, according to the statement. It would be illogical to require the university police to “physically compose a message rather than provide substantial input on which the message is based,” Canellos concluded.

Families recently awarded $4 million each by a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit against the university are currently seeking to circumvent a $100,000 cap on claims against the state, The Associated Press reports. An attorney representing the families filed a motion this week to obtain $2 million per family from the state’s risk management plan, which covers state workers for damages related to their official actions as state employees.

View a statement on the ruling from the VTV Family Outreach Foundation.

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