Virginia Tech Fined for Late Notification of Shooting

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Virginia Tech students mourn after deadly shootings.
*The Washington Post *has just [reported]( that the U.S. Department of Education fined Virginia Tech $55,00 today in response to the school’s late notification to its students following the first wave of shooting on April 16, 2007.

Virginia Tech waited two hours before notifying students that the gunman had shot students in a campus dormitory earlier in the morning. Soon after the school did notify students, the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, went on to kill 30 other students and then himself.

The fine was issued under the Clery Act, which mandates that campus crimes be reported in a timely manner. *The Post *reports that there have only been a few dozen fines of this nature over the past 20 years.

As you may remember, back on January 8, 2011, Stanford Police reported a “Hot Prowl” to students on our campus at 1:44am, about an hour after the incident occurred. The hot prowl, a break in during which the resident is present, was reported via the University’s AlertSU Emergency Alert system, which includes email and text message notifications. The alert included a basic description of the incident and advice to students about how they should take precautions in light of the incident.

It read,

“On January 8, 2011, at 12:45 a.m. three unidentified males entered an unlocked and occupied room at Grove Mayfield.  The occupant, a female, awoke when she heard noises in her room. She saw the three men and screamed. The suspects fled in an unknown direction.

“Stanford Police strongly encourage people to lock their doors and windows. Do not prop open exterior doors. Notify the police immediately if you see suspicious activity.”

In an article*The Review *ran on February 27, Stanford Deputy Allen James said,

“We are notifying the community more about crime trends. We are being more proactive,” said James.  “We are trying to find that balance.

“We are still working on it, but absolutely crime has not increased. But we have a difference in reportings. It would be unconscionable for us to know that this type of a crime is occurring and not let [the community] know.  We want to raise your awareness of it because the more aware you are about it, the safer you will be.”

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