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Parents of slain Chinese students sue USC

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POSTED May 17, 2012 8:10 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The parents of two Chinese students who were killed near the University of Southern California campus filed a lawsuit alleging the school made false claims about safety.

In the 15-page suit filed Wednesday, the parents of 23-year-olds Ming Qu and Ying Wu attack safety claims they say the school makes in the "frequently asked questions" section of its online application.

The suit alleges, "USC is not one of the safest U.S. universities and colleges and does not provide 24-hour law enforcement services in the surrounding neighborhoods and is in a high crime area."

The international graduate students were both shot on April 11 while sitting in a BMW about a mile from campus. Their killer fled in the rain. No arrests have been made.

In a statement Thursday, USC lawyer Debra Wong Yang said the university is deeply saddened by the tragic deaths but will move to have the lawsuit thrown out.

"While we have deep sympathy for the victims' families, this lawsuit is baseless," Yang said.

Yang said the victims' families met with USC and were offered "financial assistance as a gesture of kindness and sympathy" but declined the offer based on the advice of their attorney.

The shooting sent shockwaves through the school, which has the largest number of international students of any U.S. university. Roughly 19 percent of its 38,000 students are from overseas, including 2,500 from China.

The suit accuses USC of hiding behind the word "urban" and not saying the school is in a high-crime residential area. It also notes that Chinese students in particular would interpret urban to mean USC is in a safe area.

"The 'urban' representation misled Chinese students, including Ming Qu, into believing the area is safe since in China, the more urban the area, the safer the area," the lawsuit states, claiming USC understood this is how Chinese students would interpret the description.

The school and city police announced new security measures in the wake of the slayings and promised more video cameras, escorts and patrols.

 

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