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Following Student’s Death, IU Cautious With Policy Changes

Indiana University officials say they’re not yet sure if they’ll change pedestrian and transportation policies on its Bloomington campus after 19-year old student Peter Duong was struck and killed by a vehicle Wednesday.

Indiana University Police Lieutenant Craig Munroe says the Bloomington campus brings together tens of thousands of people, usually in a hurry, on any given school day, meaning substantial risks exist.

“If you drive across campus, you will have students walking across roadways, anywhere, anywhere at any time. You will have drivers at times, there’s a lot of vehicle traffic. Sometimes the speed is excessive for the conditions with the students out, especially during class changes,” Munroe said. “Sure, it’s a problem.  It probably is on every campus. It’s really hard to control pedestrian traffic, along with the classes being so far apart. You’re covering a lot of ground and usually you’re in a hurry. There’s a lot of distractions today, IPods, phones, things like that.”

But Munroe says there’s no clear roadmap for policy changes, especially so soon after Peter Duong’s death, adding IU Police will be involved in any talks to alter current policies. IU Dean of Students Harold Goldsmith says the school is more concerned with offering counseling in the immediate aftermath of Duong’s death.

“We’re certainly going to take this seriously. A student death is a tragic thing. I mean, we’re all affected by it and so I think we will expedite conversations and reviews and see what we need to do,” Goldsmith said.

But Goldsmith says university officials haven’t decided what action, if any, needs to be taken to address how to better mix pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

“You have 40,000 students and a large number of staff members all converging in a relatively small space at the same time. And there’s a lot of movement on this campus. There’s a lot of, particularly at the beginning of semesters, there’s a lot of unfamiliarity with one-way streets and where it’s safe to cross and those sorts of things,” he said.

Duong, a sophomore, was struck by an SUV driven by fellow Class of 2012 student Justin Newman, who Munroe says was driving with a suspended license. Newman could face criminal charges in connection with the incident. Monroe says it’ll likely take several days to complete a police report as witness statement are gathered and transcribed.

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