Judge overturns fine against Virginia Tech

2012-03-30 19:31

Virginia - A judge has ruled that Virginia Tech did not violate federal law in its response to the campus massacre that left 33 people dead in 2007.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

US department of education judge, Ernest Canellos, overturned a $55 000 fine against the university and determined that its actions didn't violate the Clery Act, which requires schools to issue timely warnings of campus threats.

At issue was whether the school waited too long to alert the campus after two students were fatally shot in a dormitory.

The department had said the e-mail alert that went out more than two hours later was too vague because it mentioned only a "shooting incident" but didn't say anyone had died.

By that time, student Seung-Hui Cho was chaining shut the doors at a classroom building, where he killed 30 students and faculty members before committing suicide.

The education department had no immediate comment Friday.

University spokesperson Larry Hincker said on Friday that school officials are satisfied by the decision but that sadness remains about the slayings.

The ruling doesn't necessarily end the case, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan has the final say at the agency level. Virginia Tech could appeal his decision in US district court.

The decision comes about two weeks after a jury in a wrongful-death lawsuit found the university was negligent in its actions on the day of the shootings.

The lawsuit was filed by parents of two slain students. The state is considering whether to appeal.