Hey, Curious Campus: How can students stay safe on or near campus late at night?

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Photo Credit: Rena Li | Daily Texan Staff

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said UTPD took 40 minutes to arrest the man who yelled threats in the Texas Union. It actually took 40 minutes for UTPD to notify students of the arrest. The Texan regrets this error.

On Feb. 11, a man was arrested shortly after walking into the Texas Union in the evening yelling threats, according to a campus-wide email from UTPD. Forty minutes later, students were notified of the arrest through an email.

But in the time between the incident and notification, students were afraid and speculating over what was happening. Veda Yagnik, a Plan II and business freshman, said she felt unsafe because she almost walked toward the Union during the incident.

So, when one of our readers asked us, “How can students stay safe on or near campus late at night?” we looked into it as part of Curious Campus, a series where we answer reader-submitted questions.

Resident assistant Claire McAfee said she encourages her residents to stay in contact with students, resident assistants and UTPD whenever they are in a potentially dangerous situation.

“Something I like to do is make sure I tell people where I’m at and where I’m going so people are aware,” said McAfee, French and computer science junior. “Sending a text message to a friend allows them to know if you have gotten home safely and keeps you accountable.”  

McAfee said UT has great resources that students don’t use often, such as SURE Walk and UT Night Rides, formerly known as SURE Ride.

SURE Walk provides 40,000 rides per year to students throughout campus, from 8:30 p.m. through 2 a.m Monday through Sunday. UT Night Rides provides students who live off campus with a free Lyft ride from main campus to their home every day from 11 p.m. through 4 a.m.

“We always tell students to call 9-1-1 if they for some reason cannot find transportation,” said Noelle Newton, UTPD director of Campus Safety Communications. “We are happy to give them a ride if all else fails.”

 

In an email, UTPD Officer Dustin Farahnak said for concerns that are not immediate, students can use the District Map to find officers to address questions or concerns they have.

Farahnak also said UTPD also holds free self-defense courses, like Rape Aggression Defense classes, that many students and staff benefit from. The class, held from April 8 to April 10, teaches women from UT self-defense and violence prevention techniques.

“Stress can make it difficult to come up with a plan in the heat of the moment,” Farahnak said in an email. “That means it’s important to plan ahead. … Walking in groups is proven to be much safer and cultivating culture among friends of walking together makes our community stronger.”