A look at UT security changes almost a year after student’s murder

University of Texas (KXAN Photo)
University of Texas (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Monday marks one year since University of Texas freshman Haruka Weiser was murdered on campus.

Shortly after her death, the university launched a comprehensive safety study to determine what changes should be made in campus security.

They include upgrading lighting systems, pathways, and security cameras, increasing police presence and increasing nighttime transportation and emergency call boxes on and off campus.

Changes made to the Waller Creek area, where Weiser’s body was found, include changes to the landscape: trees have been cut to make the area visible.

Joell McNew, a UT parent, described some of the reports from students in the past year: “Urinating on students, pouring collected urine on to students, grabbing students, shaking students and recently with the aggressive panhandling, taking them to the ATM to get them to take money out.”

McNew, head of the UT parent group SafeHorns, says she’s gotten the reports from a survey they’re currently conducting.

“We need to get these things resolved and a plan of action and have more police on the ground in Austin to take care of these reports,” she said.

University officials say they’ve been working hard to make sure something tragic doesn’t happen again. Bob Harkins, with Campus Safety & Security, said, “In essence we just had a broad sweep across campus trying to identify and isolate all of the security issues and be able to address them.”

Since April 2016, the university has added lights along speedway, they say they’re adding more video cameras on campus and requiring access cards in more than 30 classrooms. They’ve also increased patrols on the outer edges of campus.

Harkins continues, “If trash is in the alleyways people tend to treat things with trash and the city has been really wonderful with us in terms of doing cleanup over there.”

We asked about the specific complaints parents have. They say if it’s not reported, it can’t be addressed

McNew says, “It breaks my heart to see people walk away and being victimized by crimes that really shouldn’t be taking place.”

Parents can take the SafeHorns survey here. 


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