Mexico Earthquake Victim’s Families Sue Top University, Claim Negligence

November 01, 2017
Jorge Valencia
A memorial for the five students killed after pedestrian bridges collapsed on the campus of Tecnologico de Monterrey universiity in Mexico City.

Relatives of two students killed on the campus of a prestigious university in Mexico City during last month’s earthquake are calling on local authorities to seek criminal charges against school administrators.

The relatives said the administrators neglected to properly maintain structures that collapsed on the students.

The parents of Edagar Michel Azano, 19, and Juan Carlos Alvarez, 18, filed their complaint against officials of the Tecnologico de Monterrey before the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office this week.

They claim negligence, saying school administrators failed to adequately tend to pedestrian bridges that collapsed and killed Azano, Alvarez and three other students during the Sept. 19 earthquake.

University officials failed to properly respond to the bridges after they became comprised in another earthquake 12 days earlier, said Gabriel Regino, an attorney for both families.

The families are not seeking financial restitution, but rather want school officials to be held accountable, Regino said. They want authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and to prevent a similar mistake from happening again, he added.

"Nothing will bring their loved ones back to life," Regino said. But "if someone is responsible, they should be held responsible in criminal court."

University officials told local media outlets that structural shortcomings contributed to the pedestrian bridges’ collapse.

Inspectors hired by the university found no structural damage on the bridges after the Sept. 7 earthquake, and the bridges fell because they were built on brackets too weak to withstand the Sept. 19 earthquake, university officials said, according to the newspaper Excelsior.

University officials did not respond to requests for comment from KJZZ on Tuesday.

University administrators are working with authorities and are planning on razing buildings affected by the earthquake, they said in a statement.

Tecnologico de Monterrey is an academic partner of KJZZ and housed its Mexico City bureau.