MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin couple whose son died in Rome last year is suing the university he planned to attend in Italy, alleging it didn’t warn students about previous deaths near campus.
Nick and Jodi Solomon filed a federal lawsuit against John Cabot University, the Wisconsin State Journal reported . The lawsuit alleges the American university was negligent and reckless when it didn’t warn students about four deaths that occurred near its campus in Rome between 2014 and 2015.
“The Solomon family is contending that when foreign universities recruit our students to study abroad under their wing, they have a duty to warn them of known criminal elements and prior deaths that are occurring right next to their campus,” said Bob Gingras, the family’s attorney.
The Solomons’ 19-year-old son, Beau Solomon, was robbed, assaulted and then drowned in the Tiber River shortly after arriving to take summer classes in Rome in June 2016.
A university employee who picked him and two other students up from the airport had recommended following the Tiber River back to campus if they ever get lost. The staff member didn’t mention that the area was dangerous.
Beau Solomon’s death resembles the circumstances around an Iowa student’s death in January 2015, according to the lawsuit. The Iowa student was also robbed during his first night in the city, and his body was found near the river.
In both cases the students were wearing yellow orientation bracelets that identified them as John Cabot students. The lawsuit alleges the bracelets may have caused the students to be targeted because they’re American.
John Cabot University has since hired a guard to monitor the campus entrance. It also established a curfew and created a safety session for new students.
An email sent by The Associated Press late Tuesday evening seeking comment from the university wasn’t immediately returned.