Indiana University Board of Trustees speaks out on recent negative headlines

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 9, 2015) - The Indiana University Board of Trustees met at IUPUI to talk about funding and other big topics Friday. Also a topic of discussion was damage control: looking to spruce up the image of Indiana’s largest university, bruised by one negative story after another.

Every large university has its fair share of headliners, but over the last few weeks IU has stolen the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Just this week, the IU chapter of the Alpha Tao Omega Fraternity was expelled after a sexually explicit video with brothers surfaced.

Last week, 21-year-old student Yaolin Wang was killed in an off-campus murder-suicide. Another 20 year old student, Joseph Smedley, was found dead in a Bloomington lake.

“Indiana University continues to be a safe and generally healthy environment for all of our students. One has to remember that we are 42,000 students in Bloomington, Indiana,” said Indiana University Trustee, Patrick Shoulders.

At the IU Board of Trustees meeting, members defended the school’s storied past and said isolated incidents are not an indication of the school’s overall safety, or public image.

“This year we had the second highest enrollment in history. I think the best way to judge what our image is by what our consumers or those who apply who want to live there, and we have an overwhelming number of applications, we have record enrollments. I think that speaks volumes as to what the perception of our campus is,” said Shoulders.

But with high-profile cases like the murder of IU student Hannah Wilson and the 2011 disappearance of Lauren Spierer, trustees want all parents of students now and in years to come to know that IU is safe.

“We are cutting edge in all efforts to preserve safety, to make it a safe and conducive environment for learning and teaching and we pride ourselves on that,” said Shoulders.

There are safety trainings that all faculty and students are required to participate in, according to trustees. Shoulders though said when students arrive on campus they are adults and a certain amount of responsibility for their safety falls on them.

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