A reasonable question is raised by the federal fine on WSU: how does a school that has made numerous improvements - acknowledged by the feds in a March letter to the school's president, Elson Floyd, - end up paying more than a school where dozens died?

An Associated Press story reports a $82,500 federal fine on Washington State University for failing to report two sexual assaults in 2007.

The U.S. Department of Education is getting tougher on college campuses who violate the Clery Act, a federal law requiring campus notification of potential threats to students and employees. They audited the campus crime statistics of about a dozen schools this year, some of those schools remain under investigation and may be fined.

Virginia Tech was fined $55,000 for failing to quickly alert the campus during the 2007 mass shooting that killed 32 students and faculty members. Virginia Tech is appealing, but according to the AP story federal officials retorted that the fine should have been higher.

Sexual assaults are serious crimes and college campuses are rightly held accountable for preventative and responsive measures. WSU is appealing their fine but they do not quarrel with the federal finding of fault. A reasonable question, however, is raised by the size of the fine: How does a school that has made numerous improvements – acknowledged by the feds in a March letter to WSU President Elson Floyd – end up being forced to pay more than a school where dozens died?

UPDATE: