- U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan set a $5,000 fine against Virginia Tech on Friday.
- The fine is the second leveled against the university as a result of a campus massacre that occurred in April 2007, and was preceded by a $27,500 fine approved by Duncan in December 2012.
- The new fine is the result of what U.S. Education Department officials say were inconsistent policies on timely warnings when the shootings occurred, and the previous fine was for failing to issue a timely warning in the first place.
Both fines were leveled against the school under the Clery Act, with the most recent resulting from a 2007 Clery Act security report that said school police were responsible for issuing warnings, contradicting internal policy that placed that responsibility on both the police and the university relations department. Officials in the Office of Federal Student Aid initially pressed for the school to receive another $27,500 fine before an administrative law judge lowered it, and Duncan agreed to the lower amount because he didn't feel that the inconsistencies were a significant violation.
That said, it would seem a bit much to weigh an additional $27,500 fine against the school. Should it have issued the warning after the first shootings that warning? Yes. But those involved, if they are still at the university, most likely learned after the first fine, and making the school pay another large fine won't undo what happened that day.