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DC News: US Dept of Ed ALJ Overturns Fines Levied Against Virginia Tech Under Clery Act

On March 29, 2012, US Department of Education Administrative Law Judge Ernest C. Canellos ruled that Virginia Tech did not violate the “timely warning” provision of the Clery Act after the shootings in Ambler Johnson dormitory in April 2007.

In addition, Judge Canellos determined that Virginia Tech did not violate federal law when the warning alert was sent by the university communications office rather than the university police department. Therefore, Judge Canellos found that no fines should be imposed on Virginia Tech because of the incident.

In a related civil case, a jury ruled on March 14, 2012, that Virginia Tech was negligent for not issuing timelier warnings of an active threat and thereby awarded $4 million each to the families of two students who were killed on campus.  However, the jury award will most likely be reduced to $100,000 each because there is a cap in civil cases that are filed against the Commonwealth of Virginia.