Virginia Tech Fined For Response To 2007 Shooting

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — During the massacre at Virginia Tech, 32 students and faculty were all killed on campus in 2007.  Now the school is being slapped with a fine for not reacting fast enough.

Kai Jackson explains how this tragedy has sparked change at schools across Maryland.

The fines are substantial and the U.S. Department of Education apparently wanted to levy even more.

The massacre at Virginia Tech is now etched into the minds of those who lived through it and the American public that watched the horrifying images as they were released.

Police say Seung-Hui Cho, a student, shot and killed 32 people and then took his own life on April 16, 2007.  The event was a catalyst for change across the country, prompting colleges, universities and other agencies to develop and improve campus-wide alerts for emergencies.

But the Department of Education has fined Virginia Tech $55,000.  Officials say the university waited too long to notify students when the shootings started.  It’s a violation of a federal law called the Clery Act.

“Universities all around the country need to do more in terms of these types of incidents,” said Hopkins student Stephanie Valarezo.

Virginia Tech objects to the fines and plans to appeal.

“It’s essential, that’s why we come here, for a safe environment,” said Hopkins student Melissa Simmonds.

Virginia Tech could have lost some of its $98 million in federal funding.

  • amy ellen

    i pray the families of the victims get that fine money instead of the gov. they already get enough of greedy money over this kind of horrific incidents. !!!!

  • Mike

    This is ridiculous. Even if you locked the school down, massive alerts, he still could get on campus because he was a student. There is no way the University has a chance in this scenario. It is sad what happened, but if someone want’s to do violence,it’s almost impossible to stop.
    You could put armed guards on campus, but the same people who complain about slow action will be the first to wine about the guards, this is college, where’s the freedom . You see, the University/Universities cannot succeed.
    So, what if someone decides to shoot students housed in an off campus situation, not affiliated with the University, are they still responsible. I suspect in our litigious society, they will be held responsible for every and all scenario’s.
    Can we sue the federal gov., they didn’t keep up safe during 9/11.

    • Kathy

      No Mike, 29 students and staff could have been saved had the lockdown been in place. When there is a lockdown, students only have access to their own dorms and VERY FEW other places. Cho would not have been able to murder those 29 people. My daughters roommate was killed that day, along with 2 of her good friends. I cannot imagine what she must have gone through that day and what she continues to deal with. She will live the rest of her life with those images. A fine of $55,000 will hardly make a dent in the Virginia Tech budget. Taking away some of the Federal funding would be a more appropriate punishment. We, as Americans, like our freedoms. Let’s protect those freedoms with punishments that fit the crime.

      • Mike

        I disagree in that a lock down would have prevented 29 deaths. Since Cho was familiar with the campus he could have easily gone to a venue with the largest population and killed that many before leaving. Remember, that once an act of this manner starts, there is confusion in the few minutes before its conveyed to anyone on the campus. I am not condoning what he did in any way. I know something about this confusion after being involved in a bldg fire. No amount of fire drills prepares you for the chaos that followed. People react differently to stressful situations.
        Fining the school will not fix this problem. I cant remember, but I thought I read somewhere that this guy was exhibiting behavior before this that should have alerted some professionals in the school to act. But I also suspect that being PC caused them not to act or if they did act they themselves could have been sued by the individual.
        Taking away Federal funding will only increase your tuition, it will not solve this problem. I wen to MD, and I can drive onto the campus and go into the student union without ever being questioned or asked for credentials.
        It just sad that its come to all this. I lost some friends in NY on 9/11 and a dear friend lost a daughter at VT. I also having served now whats its like to be shot at. I will be honest with you, I am at a lost for a solution that will make everyone happy. I am sure and you will probably agree that its likely to happen again.

  • HA?

    Mike is right – this is ridiculous. How do they think this fine is going to be paid except from the same people that lived through it in the first place (increased cost of college) .

  • Ronald G Miner Jr

    Typical Dept of ed, they educate no one and should be abolished. THEY are a waste of tax dollars

  • MAF

    Maybe high school students should consider other colleges for post high school studies. I don’t think mine wants to attend Virginia Tech but there are other colleges out there that are better. I am sure there will be a tuition increase due to the fine but also there will be steep lawyer/court costs added to this and the bottom line number will be very high for the college. The costs will be passed on to students and parents.

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    This little nut job should never have been in or on campus. The university & his family & professors were told he was unstable according to professional reports several times prior his blow up. Still the maniac is enabled to get a gun in gun happy Va. (Now loopholes somewhat closed) for obtaining guns. In short this could have been totally prevented.

  • PHIL

    What’s next? Fining every city/state for each and every murder and/or terror incident that occurs within? SMH :( I “m with Mike all the way.

  • JLP45

    Dept. of Education laying fines, now that’s rich. They should be fined for our horrendous education policies and the continuation of using scholls for social experimenting and not education. School Security another joke, any common sense rules are met with opposition and ridicule. PLUS IT IS HARD/IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP A NUT!!! WITH LAWS. hAVEN’T WE SEEN ENOUGH WARS AND LITTLE NAPOLEON’S IN POWER TO KNOW THAT YET.

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