USDOE: Virginia Tech 2007 Tragedy Response Violated Notification Law
Virginia Tech was notified of this USDOE finding on January 21, 2010 but only made it public (despite attempts by the press for Virginia Tech to release it earlier based on the Freedom of Information Act) on May 18, 2010—accompanying the federal report with their 73 page response.
In my opinion, the 73 page rebuttal of Virginia Tech to the USDOE findings is outlandish. Tech’s approach, through their new Director of Emergency Management Michael Mulhare—who was not at the university during the tragedy—is an attempt to obfuscate the meaning of timely warning and emergency notification as distinct policies that are not clearly defined.
What remains irrefutably clearly defined is that two students were killed on campus and the killer was at large, yet, Virginia Tech administration did not diligently, clearly and immediately notify the community of this tragedy. This lack of judgment, competence and leadership was responsible for 30 additional fatalities and many other injuries. Families entrusted their children and loved ones to the care of Virginia Tech who failed to protect them from crimes that were preventable. The continual disingenuous manipulation of information by VT administrators not only dishonors the victims but shamefully disrespects their families.
The reasonable mind does not need a policy to immediately take action to protect students and the college community when such a horrific act takes place on a campus and the killer is at large. Nevertheless, if Virginia Tech is going to continually look for loopholes and technical jargon in their chronic menagerie of denial, distortion and deception (obviously administration is aware that additional lawsuits are pending) perhaps they should know that the reasonable standard with such a crisis at a campus was very clearly documented years before the tragedy in the Recovery section (page 4-2) of the USDOE May 2003 Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities: Respond within seconds
This reasonable standard was also clearly documented years before the tragedy in the 2005 Department of Education handbook titled The Handbook for Campus Crime Reporting (pages 61-62) guiding schools on the implementation of the Clery Act which says:
"The warning should be issued as soon as the pertinent information is available because the intent of a timely warning is to alert the campus community of continuing threats especially concerning safety, thereby enabling community members to protect themselves."
|Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide For Schools And Communities||Click here to visit site|
|The Handbook for Campus Crime Reporting||Click here to visit site|
|USDOE Report and Virginia Tech Response||Click here to visit site|
|Virginia Tech Blogs||Click here to visit site|