The federal campus safety violations occurred during a moment of chaotic leadership churn for the community college in Auburn.
The U.S. Department of Education reduced the higher-than-average fine previously issued to Green River College for campus safety violations.
In response to an appeal from officials at the Auburn community college, the federal government decreased the fine from $574,500 to $250,000, according to the college.
A department investigation found the community college had violated the Clery Act, a law that requires schools receiving federal funding to report statistics for crimes on or near campus each year.
The department found that the school also failed to publish annual fire reports and have a drug-prevention program. Green River College received notice of the department’s intent to fine it on Sept. 27.
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Green River President Suzanna Johnson did not dispute most of the department’s findings, but did appeal the magnitude of the fine. The violations occurred between 2008 and 2015, before Johnson became president in 2017.
During the period when the violations occurred, the college went through two presidential changes and had an executive staff member and three directors of campus safety leave, according to the school’s response to the findings.
College operations and students will not be affected by payment of the fine, Johnson said in a Dec. 6 email to the campus.
Public records show the fine originally given to Green River College was much higher than average. Five colleges received fines for violations of the Clery and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Acts last year, and the highest fine was $35,000, according to federal data.