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Gallaudet students question response time in death

An article in the Gallaudet University student newspaper, the Buff and Blue, questions whether campus police were too slow in responding to a bicycle crash that killed a campus worker.

Cheang Kok, a cafeteria employee, fell off his bicycle while riding to work on Aug. 23, just outside the cafeteria and hit his head. According to the Buff and Blue report, members of the Gallaudet football team, eating lunch at the time, rushed out and found him unresponsive.

Someone telephoned for help. After that, accounts diverge.

According to the student newspaper, 10 minutes passed before help arrived. The story says a football player ran to the campus public safety office and was told "to wait because he was dealing with some other students," allegedly ignoring the dead or dying man.

The article states that Gallaudet football Coach Chuck Goldstein attempted CPR. The account states that the first Gallaudet public safety official arrived 15 minutes after the emergency call. Emergency medical technicians showed up a few minutes later. Kok was ultimately pronounced dead.

Gallaudet sophomore Ryan Bonheyo, a witness, is quoted as saying, "It wasn't easy watching someone battling for his own life. It was much harder to take in knowing that the DPS office was only a minute away; they decided to take their time responding to the emergency."

Gallaudet spokeswoman Mercy Coogan gives a very different account: the university's Department of Public Safety had someone on the scene in just a few minutes. She says the campus security video service will corroborate this.

"We can show that our security guy responded within 4 ½ minutes," she said. "And it's not just any officer. He's trained as a first responder, trained in CPR."

Some students have also taken exception to the university's official statement on the death, which says, rather oddly, that Kok "became ill" on campus.

Coogan noted that a more detailed -- and responsive -- statement was being prepared.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  September 7, 2010; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Administration , Public safety  | Tags: Cheang Kok death, Gallaudet University death, Gallaudet bicycle accident, Gallaudet death, Gallaudet worker dies  
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Didn't anyone just call 911?

Posted by: tomtildrum | September 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Gallaudet University is a university for deaf students. They can't just pick up a cell phone and dial 911. Hence, they rely on campus security to make emergency phone calls.

Further, many staff on campus have been trained to NOT call 911 in the event of an emergency on campus. Instead, they are to call the security office, who will then determine whether to call 911 or not.

Posted by: Roxrox | September 7, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

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