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Virginia Tech wins Clery Act appeal
- Judge finds VT’s actions on April 16, 2007, complied with federal law, vacates fines –
RICHMOND (March 30, 2012) – In a decision released late yesterday, the chief administrative law judge of the U.S. Department of Education found that Virginia Tech had complied with federal law in its response to the initial April 16, 2007, shootings on campus, and as a result, he vacated the $55,000 in fines that had previously been assessed against the university by the U.S. Department of Education.
The fines had been imposed under the federal Clery Act, which imposes certain conditions on colleges and universities, including requiring them to issue timely warnings to their campuses when certain crimes are committed on campus and certain other conditions are met. The judge found yesterday that the act applied to the initial shootings of two students at Virginia Tech on April 16, but also found that the campus-wide e-mails issued by Virginia Tech’s emergency policy group were sent in a timely manner and met the act’s warning requirements.
“While we will always mourn for those who lost their lives on that terrible day in 2007, we are pleased the judge recognized that Virginia Tech's response fully complied with the law,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, whose office argued the appeal for the school. “We have maintained from the beginning that Virginia Tech’s notification to the campus community met all of requirements of the Clery Act, and we are glad the judge agreed. For us, this appeal was not about the fines as much as it was about the arbitrary way the U.S. Department of Education tried to apply the law against a school that responded reasonably while an unforeseen and unprecedented crime was occurring on campus.”
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