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Orland Bus crash: Humboldt State University vows to bring back surviving students

The mood on Humboldt State University’s campus has been “very somber,” Humboldt State University President Rollin Richmond told KPCC, following a Thursday night crash that left 10 people dead when a FedEx truck collided with a bus full of high school students headed to an HSU-sponsored preview weekend.

RELATED: Orland Bus Crash: Inglewood students among missing after truck, tour bus collide in Northern California

The low-income students were part of a program HSU started around 1989 that allows them the opportunity for a weekend of touring the campus and meeting current students.

“One of the things both Humboldt State and the CSU system do so well is providing access to a variety of people who in the past haven’t really had the opportunity to attend a good university,” said Richmond.

Los Angeles students make up a majority of attendees at HSU and its program.

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Despite the tragedy, Richmond said he was “really impressed” by many of the injured and surviving students he spoke with on Friday before they were later picked up by their families.

“They were clearly emotionally struggling but they were almost all interested in coming to Humboldt and becoming our students,” said Richmond. “We promised them that once they've recovered we will get them back up here … and try to avoid bringing them up on a bus.”

As for alternative transportation CSU could provide for the students, Richmond noted that smaller cars may be available and HSU may be able to fly students up, depending on the situation.

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“One of the things I like about Humboldt State, which is a relatively small campus of about 8300 students, is I get to know several students and see them on campus all the time,” said Richmond. “You come to realize these people are our future and we’re doing some really wonderful things for our society by providing them with the things they need and to lose some in this tragic accident that’s just pure bad luck is so hard.”