Following Student’s Murder, University of Illinois at Chicago Increases Campus Security Presence
Current and former students are calling for 24-hour security after a student was killed in a campus parking garage last month.
- By Haley Samsel
- December 06, 2019
The murder of a 19-year-old student in a parking garage at the University of Illinois at Chicago has prompted a swift security response from the school, which has faced pressure from students to increase safety measures.
For the remainder of the semester, from Dec. 1-15, the university will supply 24-hour security at all campus parking garages, according to a letter sent by John Coronado, UIC’s vice chancellor for administrative services. Previously, parking garage security was maintained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 pm.
“This will give us the opportunity to conduct a more detailed review of the situation before implementing permanent measures after that point,” Coronado said in the Nov. 26 letter to students.
Ruth George, a 19-year-old student at the school, was strangled to death in the early hours of Nov. 23 after entering the parking garage at around 1:35 a.m., according to surveillance footage. The man arrested for her murder, 26-year-old Daniel Thurman, was filmed leaving the garage at 2:10 a.m., according to police and school officials.
Following the tragedy, current and former UIC students started a Change.org petition urging the school to adopt new security measures to prevent a similar incident from taking place again. The petition has over 8,000 signatures, local news outlet Block Club Chicago reported.
In the letter, Coronado noted that the university’s hospital, which operates 24/7, will also have increased security staffing in its parking structures to cover all employee shifts. More private security guards will be on duty between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. to have an “extra set of eyes and ears for campus police,” he said.
While the changes are temporary for now, Coronado told The Chicago Sun-Times that he expects the 24-hour patrols to become permanent next semester. The previous security hours, which ended at 9 p.m. on weekdays, were thought to be sufficient because very little crime was reported in the parking garages.
“Even if it’s a perception issue, we want students to feel safe using them,” Coronado said.
Other safety resources at the school include the university’s SafeWalk program available 24/7, where a student patrol member or police officer can escort students to a destination on campus or a car. UIC Night Ride, a free transportation service for staff and students between 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., can pick people up from on-campus facilities and take them to destinations within a designated area around campus.
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.