The people in charge of security and safety on UT’s campus have made some changes before the start of the ’17 fall semester.
To begin, there are 13 more sworn UT Police Department officers than there were last year. In all, the University of Texas at Austin has 100 sworn officers.
For comparison, Michigan State University has 85 sworn officers. Pennsylvania State University has 60 sworn officers. Both schools have about the same amount of undergraduates at UT - 40,000.
It’s been a tough two years for UT. In 2016 freshman Haruka Weiser was murdered on UT’s campus. In 2017 freshman Harrison Brown was stabbed to death on UT campus as well.
“I was a soldier and I spent a little over three years in combat and I lost people in combat and anytime there’s a loss, you feel part ownership of that loss,” said Dr. Bob Harkins, the Vice President of UT Campus Safety and Security.
Harkins has been working with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the City of Austin to make improvements to the campus and surrounding areas.
First, they’ve added more security to campus buildings. You know have to have a key card to enter buildings after hours.
Additionally, UT is adding more lights around campus where there are large dark spots at night.
The vegetative area along Bull Creek where Haruka was killed has been cut back to improve visibility, along with other natural landscaping on campus.
The new campaign “Be Safe” is taught to freshman and returning students to warn students to always be on alert. Harkins adds that they can make all the security changes but if student’s faces are buried in their phones, they won’t see danger coming.
For more information on the Be Safe campaign and resources for students click here.