CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -- A judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed against Virginia Tech officials by the families of two students killed in the mass shootings at the school can go forward.

After Monday's hearing, a trial was tentatively set for September.

Attorneys for university president Charles Steger and former executive vice president James Hyatt argued they were protected by sovereign immunity because their positions are established and funded by the state.

Visiting Circuit Court Judge William Alexander said even though the men ran the university, that didn't qualify them as high-ranking government officials protected from personal liability.

The families of Julia Pryde and Erin Peterson refused to participate in a settlement accepted by most families of victims of the April 16, 2007, shooting that left 33 dead.