In the federal case regarding Virginia Tech’s response to the tragic shootings there five years ago, Education Department officials are arguing with one another over whether the university violated the campus-crime-reporting law known as the Clery Act. On Friday officials in the agency’s Office of Federal Student Aid—defending their findings in 2010 that the university did violate the law—appealed a recent decision to the contrary by an administrative-law judge in the department’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.
The judge’s ruling had vindicated Virginia Tech, overturning the initial findings that its warning to the campus was too late and too vague, and not in keeping with the university’s own policy for issuing such notifications. The ruling, issued on March 29, also vacated an accompanying fine of $55,000.
As a result of Friday’s appeal, the department’s final decision will now rest with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.