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USC beefs up security after death of Chinese grad student

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - USC officials today announced new security measures  for the campus and the surrounding neighborhood, including the deployment of  more security personnel, improvements in technology, and enhanced mandatory  safety education for students.

The new safety measures were implemented following the beating death of  a Chinese USC graduate student near the campus. Four people have been charged  in the killing of Xinran Ji, 24, attacked about 12:45 a.m. July 24 near 29th  Street and Orchard Avenue as he was walking home after participating in a study  group.

According to USC, meetings have been held between the university,  Chinese student leaders, parents and others to discuss their security concerns,  and the new safety measures were taken to ``respond to that input.''

``At the beginning of the school year we will meet with additional  student groups, because our entire university community is committed to  creating a safe environment,'' said Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice  president for academic affairs.

``All of us must be actively involved,'' Garrett said. ``Safety is a  shared responsibility -- it includes both practices and methods adopted by the  university and precautions that our students, faculty and staff need to take  with an awareness of their surroundings.''

The new security improvements include:

-- enhancing the deployment of neighborhood security ambassadors, and  extending coverage year-round, including summers;

-- increasing dedicated nighttime USC Department of Public Safety and  Los Angeles Police Department foot patrols and bicycle patrols in the  University Park neighborhood;

-- upgrading the video analytics used in monitoring the university's  closed-circuit video cameras in the neighborhood around the campus, and  increasing the number of personnel monitoring the cameras around the clock;

-- expanding the service area of  ``Campus Cruiser,'' the university's  free car escorts, to the full USC patrol and response area and reducing the  wait times to no more than 15 minutes. And

-- expediting the planned implementation of a free, mobile safety app  that is focused on the USC campus community to allow students, faculty or staff  to immediately contact the Department of Public Safety.

The university also changed its safety programming for new international  students, with several onsite programs in China and new videos subtitled in  Mandarin.

Also, beginning this fall, USC is mandating extended safety education  for all incoming international graduate students, just as it has for incoming  undergraduate students.

And the USC Department of Public Safety is forming an International  Student Safety Advisory Group, creating an International Student Liaison  Officer position and further expanding its Neighborhood Watch Program.

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