UNIVERSITY VILLAGE — Following the murder of University of Illinois at Chicago student Ruth George in a campus parking garage last month, university officials are increasing security at all campus parking structures for the remainder of the semester.
In a letter to students, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services John Coronado said they were adjusting “safety and security measures to meet the needs of our community.”
Through the end of the semester, there will be 24 hour security at all campus parking garages, Coronado said in the letter.
“This will give us the opportunity to conduct a more detailed review of the situation before implementing permanent measures after that point,” Coronado said.
The increase in security comes less than two weeks after George, a sophomore, was strangled to death and sexually assaulted at a campus parking structure at Halsted and Taylor Street.
Donald Thurman, 26, was charged in the slaying of the 19-year-old last week.
On Saturday, Nov. 23, George’s body was found in the backseat of a family car at a campus parking lot after her family reported her missing.
The 19-year-old, a 2018 graduate of Naperville Central High School from Berwyn, died of strangulation, said Natalia Derevyanny, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
University cameras caught George entering the parking garage at 1:35 a.m. Saturday, followed by Thurman, police said. Thurman was recorded leaving the parking garage at 2:10 a.m. and walking southbound on Halsted Street, according to school officials.
Prosecutors allege Thurman was catcalling George before the attack, and was angry she didn’t respond to his advances.
Following the campus murder, some students worried about their safety.
A Change.org petition started by former UIC students called on the school to increase safety measures.
As of Tuesday, the petition had garnered more than 8,000 signatures.
Ahead of the changes, Coronado said the university patrolled the parking garages from 8 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In a letter, University Chancellor Michael Amiridis said the school was “devastated by the loss” of George, a kinesiology student and member of the University’s Honors College.
“Our thoughts, our hearts and our condolences are with her family and friends during this trying period,” Amiridis said in a statement. “…The traumatic loss of life of one of our community members is very difficult to comprehend and surely invokes a range of emotions for all of us.”
Amiridis encouraged students, staff and faculty to take advantage of the crime-prevention tools on campus and reminded them to “remain vigilant both on and off-campus.”
“Safety and well-being of everyone at UIC is our foremost concern,” he said.
Aside from extra security, Coronado reminded students of existing safety resources including a 24/7 walking escort service and UIC Night Ride, a free transportation service that operates daily from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The school also encouraged students to download its safety app.
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