Virginia Tech Fined for April 2007 Shooting Spree

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Nearly four years have passed since a lone gunman opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 students and faculty members before taking his own life. Seung-hui Cho, who went on a shooting rampage on April 16, 2007, was a 23-year-old VT senior who had been declared mentally ill by a Virginia specialist judge just two years earlier.

Slow Response

The university was criticized following the massacre for its slow response which some say could have limited deaths and injuries had the school responded promptly. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education fined the college $55,000 for waiting too long to notify students. Cho’s rampage lasted for several hours, but it wasn’t until two hours had passed that the school notified the entire campus. The fine represents the maximum amount allowed for violating a federal law requiring timely notification following campus crimes according to The New York Times.

Virginia Tech, which has long since settled with victims and survivors, plans to appeal the fine, believing that the school responded appropriately. In place at the time of the shooting were departmental guidelines which requires students to be notified within 48 hours of an incident. Unfortunately, this incident was just beginning to worsen when students were notified, exposing thousands of people to deadly harm.

VT Recovery

The Virginia Tech community continues to move beyond the massacre, but has erected a memorial to the 32 victims. That memorial can be seen on the drill field observation podium in front of Burris Hall, featuring 32 pieces of Hokie Stone inscribed with the names of each of the victims. Hokie Stone is a type of dolomite limestone named for VT’s mascot, Hokie, and contains siltstone and sandstone as well. Most natural occurrences of the stone can be found in a university owned quarry located just miles from its Blacksburg, Va., campus.

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Categories: Campus News