Fenves provides campus safety updates before year anniversary of on-campus murder


Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

In preparation for the one-year anniversary of the death of dance freshman Haruka Weiser, UT President Gregory Fenves emailed the campus community to announce a vigil in her honor as well as provide a detailed report of updated security measures on campus.

“As the first anniversary approaches of the murder of Haruka Weiser on our campus, I know her name still brings back a flood of memories for every member of our community,” Fenves said in his email. “When hearing it, we are instantly reminded of our loss and also the legacy left behind.”

Shortly after Weiser’s murder last spring, Fenves requested that the Texas Department of Public Safety conduct a security vulnerability assessment of the main campus and the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. At the end of the four-month review, DPS recommended providing campus areas with additional lighting, installing more video cameras, increasing police presence, addressing the transient population, among other recommendations.

While the University has already implemented some of these changes, others, such as developing multi-year risk assessment reports on campus locations, will be implemented over time, Fenves said in his email.  

Additionally, the Executive Compliance Committee approved in January a long-term strategy for implementing the safety and security recommendations DPS made in its 2016 report. While the report is not yet public due to the law enforcement sensitive information it contains, Fenves detailed some of the strategy plans in his email.

The committee approved plans such as enhancing the existing Be Safe safety awareness campaign, developing and implementing additional nighttime walking and transportation options and commissioning a lighting assessment to determine compliance with industry standards and identify areas for improved safety.

Fenves also announced a memorial ceremony that UT Student Government will be holding at the Main Mall in Weiser’s honor on April 3 at 8 p.m.

“Haruka Weiser will never be forgotten,” Fenves said in his email. “Her memory is a bright light that will guide us for years to come. She will always inspire us. Haruka is a Longhorn forever.”

Weiser was reported missing on April 4, 2016 after failing to return home from a dance rehearsal the previous evening. On April 5, her body was found in Waller Creek, behind the on-campus alumni center near San Jacinto and East 23rd streets. Meechaiel Khalil Criner was indicted on capital murder in connection to her death and is currently awaiting his August trial date.