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University of Texas declines to take legal liability for student-run EMS crew

Longhorn EMS pushed to become part of 911 emergency services on campus, but the school refused insurance funding and legal liability

By EMS1 Staff

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas declined to take on legal liability for a student-run EMT organization.

The Daily Texan reported that Longhorn EMS is a student-run organization including 70 certified EMTs with a response time of two-and-a-half minutes. The crew pushed to become part of the campus’s 911 emergency service, but UT President Gregory Fenves declined to take on insurance funding and legal liability.

The school’s student government also severed ties with the EMS crew and asked that they become an independent organization, according to Longhorn EMS Chief Gavin Sussman.

“UT is a fairly inaccessible campus,” Chief Sussman said. “The point of EMS is to deliver prompt medical care to citizens in need. The time to cut our response time is now. No one deserves to die as a result of inaction.”

UT spokesperson J.B. Bird said the school is concerned about the safety of the students.

“There is no question that the organization could be of help,” Bird said. “(But) we want students to be students first. Working in EMS can put you in harm’s way for sure. We are worried about asking students to take professional duties that could put them in dangerous situations. “

Chief Sussman said Longhorn EMS has received $8,000 worth of equipment through previous support from Student Government and the UT Police Department.

“Right now we need a legal entity and a budget for insurance from the University,” Chief Sussman said. “Without them, that sets our progress back by at least two years, even assuming that another agency such as Travis County EMS will take us.”

A petition for Longhorn EMS has acquired more than 500 student signatures, but Bird said the University will not change its mind.