BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU officials are worried that the killings of two Indian students in a campus apartment could hurt enrollment of students from the U.S. and abroad.
"I think that whenever you have a tragedy it will have an effect," said Jim McCoy, LSU vice provost for enrollment management.
"I don't have a crystal ball," he said, arguing he cannot project how much or how long enrollment could be affected. "But we are aware there could be an effect."
As security is heightened and adjustments are made on campus, McCoy said, LSU officials are assuring potential students and parents from Texas to China that LSU is as safe or safer than other schools.
Because of the distance and cultural differences, McCoy said there could be larger affects in India and other nations, especially since news of the killings traveled worldwide.
"But how much of an impact and how long-lasting? I don't know," McCoy added.
Yunan Yuan, vice president of LSU Chinese Students and Scholars Association, said she was surprised news of the killings traveled to China.
She said potential Chinese students could be frightened away from LSU, but not for long. Yuan said LSU goes out of its way to accommodate Chinese and Indian students.
"But I am concerned because a lot of Chinese students live in the graduate housing (where the slayings occurred)," Yuan said. "We are just really, really shocked and saddened."
LSU enrolls close to 1,500 international students, more than one-third of whom hail from India or China. More than 1,000 of the foreign students are enrolled in master's or doctoral programs, according to LSU statistics.
LSU Provost Astrid Merget said she does not think there will be long-term problems in international student recruitment.
She compared the situation to the current nationwide return of international students after enrollment dips following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"I think probably it might give them some thought, some pause," Merget said of the concerns from the LSU slayings. "We're doing all we can to reassure everyone of the safety and security on campus."