The U.S. Department of Education fined Virginia Tech $55,000 Tuesday for not notifying students about the on-campus shootings in 2007 quickly enough.
Virginia Tech was found to have violated two requirements of the Clery Act, in which universities are federally required to report crimes in a timely manner. Each fines equal $27,500.
"We believe that Virginia Tech administrators acted appropriately in their response to the tragic events of April 16, 2007, based on the best information then available to them," said Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations at Virginia Tech. The school plans to appeal the fine.
According to USA Today, the shootings began at 7:15 a.m. that day when Cho Seung-Hui killed two students in a residence hall. The university did not alert students about the shootings until nearly 9:30 a.m and did so through an email.
The Education Department said Virginia Tech's initially notification was still insufficient, as it did not state that a murder had happened or that the shooter was not in custody.
By about 9:40 a.m., Cho walked into another university building and went on a rampage, killing 30 students and himself. Virginia Tech sent out a more severe warning at 9:50 a.m. through email, phone and loudspeaker, according to The New York Times.
By the end, 33 people had been killed, including Cho.
"They should accept the fact that they made a mistake," Holly Sherman said to The Roanoke Times upon hearing Virginia Tech plans to appeal the fine. Her daughter, Leslie, was one of the victims in the shooting.
"I'm not saying they had anything malicious in their minds, but they were neglectful. They delayed until it was too late because they didn't want bad press," she said. "If they accepted their faults, I wouldn't be feeling the same resentment."