Va. Tech Disputes DOE Clery Findings

Published: May 18, 2010

BLACKSBURG, Va.—Virginia Tech officials are disputing a report by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), which found the university to be in violation of the Clery Act’s timely warning provision for not notifying the campus that a gunman was on the loose April 16, 2007. This incident was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The DOE report, which was given to Virginia Tech in January, referred to what it deemed were two aspects of the violation. “First, the warnings that were issued by the university 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. Secondly, Virginia Tech did not follow its own policy for the issuance of timely warnings as published in its annual campus security reports.”

The university, however, issued a 73-page response to the report, strongly objecting to the DOE’s preliminary conclusions. The April 20 report claims the DOE relied on factual errors. Also, Michael Mulhare, Virginia Tech Director of Emergency Management, claims the school was denied access to the administrative file for the purpose of responding to other factual misinformation on which DOE may have based its preliminary findings.

“Virginia Tech professionals acted appropriately in their response to the tragic events of April 16, 2007, based on the best information then available to them, and we respectfully disagree with the preliminary conclusions of the Department of Education’s Program Review Report,” said Mulhare in a letter that introduced Virginia Tech’s response to the DOE’s claims.

——Article Continues Below——

Get the latest industry news and research delivered directly to your inbox.

Mulhare goes on to claim that the Clery Act does not provide a clear definition of “timely warning,” but that, at the time of the tragedy, “DOE’s compliance guidelines illustrate 48 hours as an acceptable timely notification procedure.”

“It is inconsistent with regulatory process to hold Virginia Tech to standards that did not exist at the time or, as portions of this preliminary report do, to hold Virginia Tech to a new Clery Act standard that was developed after – and in response to—the tragic events that took place on our campus,” Mulhare claims.

To read the full report, click here.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series