Duncan Reinstates Fine Against Va. Tech

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Arne Duncan has reinstated a $27,500 fine against Virginia Tech for failing to provide a timely warning to the campus community during a shooting rampage in 2007 that left 33 people dead.

Duncan reversed a decision made by the department’s chief administrative judge earlier this year in which he concluded the university did not violate a federal law requiring timely warnings of safety threats, the Los Angeles Times reports. School officials initially believed that the shooting of two students in a dorm was a domestic incident, and sent out an E-mail urging people to use caution and contact police if they saw anything suspicious.

“Although the police department hypothesized that the crime was ‘domestic in nature,’ the record is clear that the respondent had not located the suspect, had not found the weapon, and was confronted with the distinct possibility that the gunman was armed and still at large,’’ Duncan wrote in his decision to reinstate the fine.

The VTV Family Outreach Foundation, which is comprised of families directly affected by the shooting, issued a statement Saturday in response to Duncan’s decision, saying that it was “pleased that this issue has been resolved and that we — and all members of the Virginia Tech community —can now continue-on together in our efforts to make colleges and universities safer.”

“Secretary Duncan’s decision sets the bar high for campus safety. VTV strongly supports this level of excellence. It is our hope that a unified community will encourage and challenge institutions across the country to take similar steps in keeping campuses safe.”

Read the ruling.

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