U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (Getty)

Lynne Varner, in her Seattle Times opinion blog, writes that the $82,500 fine the U.S. Department of Education gave Washington State University for violating a campus crime-reporting law in 2007 — including not reporting two sexual assaults — is too much.

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? 

Read Lynne Varner's entire column at the Seattle Times.