DOE -- Virginia Tech violated law in '07 massacre

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    DOE -- Virginia Tech violated law in '07 massacre

    Feds: Virginia Tech violated law in '07 massacre - NBC12 News, Weather Sports, Traffic, and Programming Guide for Richmond, VA |

    Feds: Virginia Tech violated law in '07 massacre
    Posted: May 18, 2010 4:08 PM EDT
    Updated: May 18, 2010 4:10 PM EDT

    By LARRY O'DELL
    Associated Press Writer

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education says Virginia Tech failed to comply with campus security laws during a 2007 shooting rampage that left 33 people dead, including the gunman.

    The university released the department's preliminary finding and its response Tuesday. Tech disputes the department's finding that it violated the Clery Act's requirement of a "timely warning" to the campus when crimes or threats are reported.

    Tech says the standard at the time of the April 16, 2007, shootings allowed university officials to use their best judgment after consulting with law enforcement. They say that's what happened.

    The university has previously been criticized for not notifying the campus of the shootings sooner. The state has released its own report identifying apparent missteps.
    Virginia Tech disputes federal report saying university violated law in shootings - Roanoke.com

    Virginia Tech disputes federal report saying university violated law in shootings
    Virginia Tech releases draft of latest report assessing April 16

    BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech officials are disputing a U.S. Department of Education draft report asserting that in waiting two hours to notify the campus community of two shootings in West Ambler Johnston Hall on April 16, 2007, the university violated the federal Clery Act.

    The university released this afternoon its official 72-page response, as well as the 11-page original DOE report on the alleged violations.

    Both the university and the DOE declined in February to release the draft report. DOE cited a federal Freedom of Information Act provision that exempts draft reports from disclosure. Tech legal counsel deemed the draft report an executive "working paper" under state sunshine laws because, officials said, it was addressed to President Charles Steger and meant for his "deliberative use." Under Virginia law, executive working papers can in some instances be withheld.

    With the submission of the university’s official response to DOE in April, however, Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said the working paper exemption no longer applied to either document, and he released them to the public today.

    According to the DOE’s draft report, "Virginia Tech failed to issue adequate warnings in a timely manner in response to the tragic events of April 16, 2007" under the federal Clery Act. When warnings were issued, they "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," the report says.

    Furthermore, the university "did not follow its own policy for the issuance of timely warnings as published in its annual campus security reports," the report says.

    Universities that participate in federal student aid programs are subject to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which spells out criminal notification requirements and other rules. It is enforced by the DOE, and violations can result in fines.

    More than two hours after the 7:15 a.m. shooting of two students in West Ambler Johnston, troubled Tech student Seung-Hui Cho chained shut the doors of Norris Hall and opened fire in hallways and classrooms there. In all, Cho killed 32 students and faculty and injured dozens more before shooting himself.

    But Tech officials said today that the DOE report is based on flawed sources, including an unofficial, student-run archive of April 16-related documents and an early version of a state investigative panel report that was revised and corrected twice by order of Gov. Tim Kaine.

    In its written response, Tech argues that in 2007 accepted practice among universities subject to the Clery Act was to issue timely warnings up to 48 hours after an incident.

    Officials further argue that the university was given little input into the DOE’s initial investigation, and that some of its conclusions are based on regulations and guidelines that did not exist at the time of the shootings.

    Tech "professionals acted appropriately in their response to the tragic events of April 16, 2007, based on the best information then available to them, and we respectfully disagree with the preliminary conclusions of the Department of Education’s Program Review Report," university Director of Emergency Management Mike Mulhare wrote in a statement.

    Mulhare, who was hired in 2008, compiled the university’s response.

    As part of its response, Tech also submitted a consultant’s report. That report, compiled by Delores Stafford of Deleware-based D. Stafford Associates found that "the fact that the administration distributed a timely warning notice in less than two hours would have been sufficient and consistent with what most campuses were doing at that time.

    "It is my professional opinion that Virginia Tech has not violated the timely warning requirement and cannot be held accountable for meeting standards that didn’t exist prior to the tragic events that occurred on that day," Stafford wrote.

    Stafford, whom Tech paid $9,000 for her services, is a former George Washington University police chief and acknowledged expert in the Clery Act. She has testified before congress and served on committees that have shaped the evolution of that act.

    The DOE draft report released today is not a final determination. A final determination letter will be released after the agency reviews Tech’s response.


    Other regulatory agencies follow similar back-and-forth review processes in assessing compliance with state and federal rules. A timeline for a final determination has not been made public.
    No "They created a "Un-armed Victim Rich Zone" or a "Criminal Safety Zone", etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    No "They created a "Un-armed Victim Rich Zone" or a "Criminal Safety Zone", etc.
    All that "violated law" stuff is moot. Would the outcome have been any different IF Virginia Tech followed the letter of the "timely warning" law? Does this "finding" make any of the relatives of the dead victims feel any better?

    I seriously hope there are no smug smiles and feelings of accomplishment at the DOE with the release of this report. What a waste of taxpayer resources.

    It should be patently clear that VaTech created a free-fire zone for the deranged killer. Calling attention to a "security policy" violation which would have had no practical effect on student security under the circumstance of an "active shooter" is grandstanding, blame-deflecting, and CYA-ing at its worst. I think I want to puke.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

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    More coverage

    Larry Hincker, on WTVR, try to explain Tech's failure by claiming that Tech was within the letter of the law. Basically, it's OK to notify up to 48 hours after the alleged incident.

    Let's see. need to revise our well-known saying that "When seconds count ..." for "Un-armed Victims Rich Zone" / " Safety Zone for Criminal" / “Free-fire Zone for Deranged Killers” a.k.a “Gun Free Zones” at colleges.

    48 hours = 172,800 seconds.

    Who can afford to wait that long in any disarmed environment?

    Video at:

    Feds says Virginia Tech violated law during 2007 shootings -- wtvr
    Μολὼν λαβέ

    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

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    In 48 hours I can assemble a complete AR15 from just individual parts +,load at least 10,000 rounds of ammo + bake some brownies + take a bath + go to a movie +take my dog for a walk.Seriously thats a plan of action,were in trouble
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Great comment...

    from David Codrea Co-founder, GunTruths and Citizens of America.

    The War on Guns: "Hindsight Bias"

    Unsurprisingly, the true crime on the university's part has been completely ignored.
    Μολὼν λαβέ

    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

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    The actions of the first responders during the VA tech incident were heroic. However VA tech adminastrative leadership is pathetic at best.


    Hinckner is a complete moron, Google "Hinckner/ VA house militia and police". I believe this was 2004 or 2005. He led the charge against forcing college campuses to allow on campus carry. He's quoted "that he was glad the bill was killed
    ed now kids at his school VA Tech would feel safer knowing chp holders would risk getting toadded out of school if caught carrying legally." That was pre tech incident.
    I'LL Try and find it when I'm not posting from my phone.
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

    Its not about guns...Its about Freedom!

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    I would like to see a some type of "school-defense / emergency response" program which evaluates, trains, and allows students who pass the program the ability to carry concealed on campus and be the "sheepdog" that so many college campuses need but do not allow.

    I know many of you think anyone should be allowed to CC on college campuses, and I won't argue that point, but considering more than half of the students on any given college campus don't meet the age requirement to CC, it makes sense to offer some type of "school defense / CC" program to willing students, staff, and professors aged 20 or older which trains them what to do in the case of an emergency. And by emergency, I mean any type of emergency whether it be a mass shooting or a tornado.

    The "curriculum" taught would include these points:
    - Defensive "tactics" (how to respond to certain situations)
    - Emergency First Response aka First Aid + CPR
    - Leadership (how to control and prevent mass panic and hysteria and lead the "sheep" to safety and keep them safe)
    - Normal CC class + Advanced Marksmanship

    I'm sure there are other ideas, but that is my basic outline. It would be especially interesting to those of us who intend to pursue a career in Military and/or LE.
    Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine

    “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.” ― Thomas Paine

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    @Rob99VMI04 - Off topic, but I really like you avatar + location combination. Very creative.
    Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine

    “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.” ― Thomas Paine

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