Report Says Virginia Tech's Slow Response to Shootings Violated Law

Virginia Tech offers swift rebuttal to the government's findings.

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An Education Department report released on Wednesday says that Virginia Tech failed to comply with a federal law that requires quick alerts to students in the event of campus emergencies. The document claimed the school responded too slowly to the 2007 campus shootings that killed 32, the Washington Post reports. This preliminary report prompted a swift rebuttal by the school, saying that the federal investigation of the school's response to the shootings had factual and legal errors.

The report says that Virginia Tech violated the Clery Act, a statute that necessitates swift alerts when campus emergencies unfold. Virginia Tech failed to notify the campus community quickly enough after the shooting of two students in an on-campus dormitory, the report says. The shooter, a Virginia Tech student named Seung Hui Cho, shot and killed 30 others in a campus building about two hours later.

"Virginia Tech failed to issue adequate warnings in a timely manner in response to the tragic events of April 16, 2007," the federal officials write in the report. "There are two aspects to this violation. First, the warnings that were issued by the university were not prepared or disseminated in a manner to give clear and timely notice of the threat to the health and safety of campus community members. Secondly, Virginia Tech did not follow its own policy for the issuance of timely warnings as published in its annual campus security reports."

Virginia Tech released a 73-page objection to the investigation's findings, the Post reports.

"Virginia Tech professionals acted appropriately in their response to the tragic events ... based on the best information then available to them," Michael Mulhare, the university's director of emergency management, writes in the rebuttal.

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