UT police ease new students’ fears at ‘Coffee with a Cop’

"Coffee with a Cop": UT police talking with staff about campus safety. (KXAN Photo/Arezow Doost)
"Coffee with a Cop": UT police talking with staff about campus safety. (KXAN Photo/Arezow Doost)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Around the 40 acres of the University of Texas at Austin, students and their parents are loading and unpacking.

UT’s “Mooov-in” kicked off Friday morning with more than 7,000 new students calling the university’s residence halls home this year. The university has 8,500 freshmen enrolled this year, a record.

Campus police are hoping to reach those freshmen and other students on campus.

At “Coffee with a Cop” inside the Starbucks on campus, as the coffee was brewing so was something else between students, staff and police. Officer Murphy and officers eased fears as they talked to a group of people over a cup of coffee.

One of the biggest concerns has been campus carry, which will allow licensed gun owners to legally carry their concealed weapons into most buildings and classrooms. Officers now have specific areas they will be patrolling on campus. “It’s very complicated for someone to actually conceal on campus,” an officer said.

UT academic adviser Micah Jackman says his initial concerns have been diminished. “My question was if they did any extra training and they did.”

The university also launched a new safety initiative, dubbed “Be Safe.” It comes after the April murder of UT freshman Haruka Weiser on campus. Isaiah Carter, chief of staff of Student Government, said, “It’s a reminder… everyone knows that if you are walking home you probably shouldn’t be looking down on your phone, you probably shouldn’t have earphones on.”

UT’s Student Government worked with campus police on the new campaign. The two will focus on making sure students are aware of the safety resources available to them.

Even with the backdrop of last semester and ongoing safety concerns, it hasn’t dampened start-of-term enthusiasm.

“I’m excited about dorm life, UT life, and just college in general ” said UT freshman Kenia Segura.

Parents did their best to make the send-off as easy as possible.

“I’m excited about her going to college,” said one mom as she took boxes out of the car. “I’m going to miss her terribly.”

The department hopes to have at least four more “Coffee with a Cop” get-togethers this year.

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