It is the start of a new school year and officials at Indiana University and with the city are collaborating to educate students on safety precautions, with the disappearance of IU Sophomore Lauren Spierer three months ago still fresh on many people’s minds.
As the search continues for the missing 20-year-old, her parents are encouraging students to be cautious and stay safe.
“Be careful late at night, pair with your friends and pick your friends carefully and wisely,” Robert Spierer said. “Don’t put too much credibility in a new acquaintance, and finally don’t send them out into the night by themselves. These things could make the difference in somebody being there the next morning or disappearing like Lauren did.”
On the first day back in class, Spierer’s disappearance was certainly top of mind, but several students said they do feel safe on campus.
“It’s a sad thing that happened and I hope that they find her,” IU graduate student Kaitlin Conner said, “but there are definitely some a precaution that we can all take to make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen more often.”
IU undergraduate student Ron Speaker agreed.
“Know where to go, what parts of campus to stay in,” he said, “and be sure that you’re not just going to go to some party and meet some random person.”
IU Police Chief Keith Cash saidthe department wants to be more proactive this year and plans to add more surveillance cameras around campus. He said students should also take personal responsibility to protect themselves against things like sexual assault.
“It’s a reminder of not putting yourself in a position where you can’t care for yourself whether it’s through drugs or alcohol,” Cash said. “Know the people that you’re with, beware of your surroundings report suspicious behavior.”
Meanwhile Bloomington police say now that the students are back they hope it leads to more tangible information in the Spierer case.