LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – UNLV leaders promise more patrols and officer visibility in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly shooting, and also addressed the debate surrounding some calls for a “closed campus.”
UNLV takes up a large footprint as an “urban campus” in between Tropicana Avenue and Flamingo Road.
“With the help of our regional partners we will increase the level of staffing in the interim,” said Chief Adam Garcia, who said a review of campus security protocol has already begun. The review process will take months, Garcia said.
Neither Garcia nor President Keith Whitfield could elaborate on what measures could be forthcoming.
Parents, teachers and students have called for more security in the wake of the shooting.
A petition on Change.org now approaches closer to the goal of 15,000 signatures, calling for limits to the “open campus policy.”
The petition author proposes additional ID verification measures: “building entrances will require anyone who wants to enter to provide some form of verification to access.” The author notes that the petition is a broad call for modification to the “open campus” policy and encourages other ideas.
Many voice support to close off public access.
“UNLV should not be an open campus. Any crazy person off the street can go on campus,” one person wrote.
“I am a student at UNLV and I believe that it should be a closed campus only allowed for students and teachers. There are many homeless people that hang out in the student union and it’s unacceptable that it took a shooting to get this point across,” another wrote.
The most recent high-profile incident involved a woman assaulted in a bathroom. A suspect was arrested and charged. UNLV Police followed up by boosting patrols and encouraged student safety measures.
In the fall of 2022, Metro Police called the area a “hot spot” for criminal activity after a string of stabbings and the shooting death of Officer Truong Thai.
“We sit in an interesting position that we are an urban research university. They believe somehow if we cornered off or made gates, that would make us perfectly safe. We know from other urban universities that’s not true,” President Whitfield said.
“It’s one of those situations we are struggling with, as a country…part of our safety is being a community,” Whitfield said.
Recently, Whitfield addressed the presence of recent protests on campus organized by some off-campus groups, encouraging students to report incidents of anti-Semitism, threats, discrimination or harassment. ” “As a public urban university, every individual has a right to visit our campus,” he wrote in the letter.
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