University of Chicago students Wednesday demanded greater safety measures, such as police officers and more surveillance cameras, after a graduate student from China was shot and killed in an early morning robbery.
More than 500 people told the university President Robert Zimmer that the department of Public Safety needs to increase officer patrols and use more technology to deter such crimes.
Police said U. of C. junior Yue Wu was shot and killed early Tuesday after being approached by three men. They may have pointed a pistol at Wu before one of the men fired. Wu was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died.
The suspects are described as having medium skin complexion, short dark hair and about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall. Investigators say they had a black bag that looked like a waist pack with a white or gray zippered jacket on top. They were last seen running south, toward Irving Park Road.
Hours after Wu was killed, another student was also shot in an unrelated incident. Law enforcement says it appears to be the same suspects in both cases.
University spokesman Robert Hermann says there were no other known injuries in the incidents.
Wu had been living on campus since he joined the graduate school track team in the fall of 2016. He was an unusually popular member of the team, student leaders say.
“For our whole program, the deejay didn’t get enough time,” said his teammate Ryan Duong, also a junior and the team’s point guard. “You could see it in his eyes. He was a good leader, a good person.”
In a statement on Facebook, the women’s team manager and fellow Chinese student called Wu a “great friend.”
Wu recently traveled to Houston to race in the Night Marathon, in which students at the school camp out at midnight and race for hours.
“He was such a beautiful man, and such a great teacher to me,” said undergraduate Kim Ann Fung. “I loved him, he taught me a lot and he really is in my heart.”
Hermann told students at a Wednesday afternoon meeting that he was planning to meet with some of the officers who work night patrols on Thursday to get a plan in place and begin moving officers around campus. He said police were already searching university parking lots, conducting surveillance and reworking their plans with security officials in hopes of figuring out why the incidents occurred.
The university is also asking parents of students to provide them with information about how to keep their children safe and supervise them while they sleep at night.
The University currently has one officer patrolling the entire campus, up from an average of two during the daytime. The department also deployed six cameras on Prospect Avenue near campus, starting in late-summer 2016, one that can be operated remotely and two that are operated by officers.
But students told Zimmer that the increase in number of officers was not enough and that the cameras should be much larger. The department has 40 foot and three camera towers that can be raised quickly to a grid-level from a tall roof.
“We can have a number of these,” Zimmer said. “This is a moving target.”
Students also said that since new issues surfaced like the shooting and a rising wave of sexual assaults, the school has been too slow to respond to recommendations that have been sent to campus.
Zimmer said he hoped an independent review of campus safety would be completed by the end of March.
There were also calls for the school to retain one of the two departments that were cut in recent years and made a central part of campus life. The construction materials department was relocated to a nearby building after being cut from a level six, two-floor building. The color science department was downgraded to an even lower level in a basement building that now has no windows.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.