The U.S. Department of Education is fining Virginia Tech $55,000 for failing to issue a timely warning to those on campus after two students were shot to death in a residence hall in April 2007.
About two hours after those shootings, the same gunman opened fire in another building on the Blacksburg campus and killed another 30 people.
An education department review concluded that by not issuing a warning about the initial killings, the university had violated the Clery Act, which governs the disclosure of crime statistics and security policies on U.S. college campuses.
In a letter to Virginia Tech president Charles Steger, Mary Gust, a U.S. Education Department director, says the school "failed to provide a timely warning in response to the shootings … and did not comply with the timely warning policy it had disclosed to students and staff."
"The facts that the assailant had not been identified, a weapon had not been found at the scene and that bloody footprints led away from the bodies strongly indicated that the shooter was still at large, and posed an ongoing threat to the safety of students, staff and others on the Virginia Tech campus," the letter states. "Because Virginia Tech failed to notify its students and staff of the initial shootings on a timely basis, thousands continued to travel on campus, without a warning of the events."
Virginia Tech will appeal the fine.