Emporia State University was a regional public institute, with an 'average' international population composition among its peers in Kansas.
Last October, it has been hit with a disproportional high share of tragedies when two Chinese students, Fan Yawei and Lin Zheng, were found dead of house fire. Fan and Lin came to ESU in Fall 2009 and fell in love. The duo planned to return China to get married.
There was no smoke detector installed in the apartment they rent from Mr. Tony Wang the owner of a restaurant where Lin worked part time. Police determined the cause of fire was combustibles being placed too close to a floor furnace.
Life hardship was evident. On the night of fire, it was 25 degrees outside. Yet that was the first night in the winter the furnace was turned on in the apartment building shared by Chinese students. Fan sometimes made money by taking international students who didn't have cars to the airport.
The tragedy made its strike before anyone could realize what was happening. The furnace was turned on around 11 pm. Life was as normal when Lin made a call to her friend at about 11:20 pm. Before midnight, Ms. Cang Lan, a tenant living downstairs smelled smoke. She was about to call the fire department, but a passer-by told her he already did. She also knocked on the doors of Fan and Lin, but there was no response. knowing the couple was taking students to the airport, she thought they had already left.
According to department log, the fire department received a call at 12:18 and arrived at 12:22 am. Lin was brought out naked and life-flighted to Wichita, where she would die a few hours later. Fan was found dead at the scene.
Police reported another student Yang Alex Mingxuan was found dead in a car at a crash scene on January 10, 2012. Initial report was not clear on the cause of death. Later it was said, a call was made to the 911, in which the caller alerted the police a traffic accident. When police reached the alleged crash scene just after 4 pm, they found Yang in a crashed car with a gunshot wound. They also found a note, which appears to be a transcript of the previous 911 call. Police decided Yang must have made the call himself, reading from the note. Then Yang drove to the pre-determined location, fired a shot to himself and crashed the car.
All three students came from Dalian, Liaoning Province in Northeastern China. Fan and Lin came to the US through an exchange program with Liaoning Normal University in Dalian. Fan was a sophomore in Chemistry, Lin was a graduate student in English. Yang transferred to ESU from University of North Texas in Denton, and was working on MBA program. Yang was involved with the Chinese Students Association and attended services at the 12th Ave Baptist Church and also at First Presbytarian at the 12th Ave.
Chinese media reported Yang had been under economic pressure. He worked at restaurants, but later quit because of hardship of the work.
Over 200 Chinese students study in Emporia State University.
What would link Emporia State University the Dickinson State University is a Disney program, which was highly criticized for the chaos in the state college in North Dakota where 400 Chinese students were admitted without proper background and subsequently awarded degrees without meeting required academic standards.
Among the regional Regents Universities in Kansas, ESU was about average in terms of international students composition. Its sister school, the Fort Hays State University (FHSU) boasts a 36% of international students population. FHSU became the first American University to offer dual bachelor's degrees in China, and started offering courses through partner schools since 2000. According to FHSU official websites, in Fall 2009, FHSU is serving 3200 students at partner schools in China. However, a Wikipedia page indicated that 'to date, no one international students at SIAS has earned the FHSU degree,' FHSU's main partner in China.