UT-Austin finishes $2.4 million upgrade to building security

Megan Menchaca

The University completed nearly $2.4 million in safety and security upgrades to all on-campus buildings at the end of October.

The Department of Public Safety provided security recommendations to the University after the death of Haruka Weiser, including suggestions on how to make buildings more secure. The University finished adding surveillance video and electronic locks to the most-used entrances for all buildings frequented by students. Those entrances are also known as
celebrated entrances. 

“While certainly the University is an open campus for the use of faculty, staff, students and invited guests, the celebrated entrances allow us to provide more enhanced security while still keeping an open campus,” said Jimmy
Johnson, assistant vice president for campus safety. The upgrades also include the installation of safety hubs near the entrances of these buildings. The safety hubs include automated external defibrillators, indoor emergency call boxes and Stop the Bleed kits, which include tourniquets, gauze and other supplies.

Elva Ye, head coordinator for the UT chapter of Stop the Bleed, said the goal of the program is to provide supplies to help people save a life if they are ever faced with life-threatening bleeding or other emergency situations. 

“We talk about the importance of using different techniques to stop bleeding, but it’s not as useful if there’s no accessibility to tourniquets,” chemistry junior Ye said. “If something happens, people will now be able to apply aid and reduce potential disastrous effects.”

Johnson said the University is also planning on adding celebrated entrances and safety hubs to University buildings off campus such as the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. 

“We have students, faculty and staff that work late hours in buildings that in the past that weren’t as secure as we would prefer,” Johnson said. “These changes really enhance our ability to unsecure as well as secure our campus on a daily basis or in the event of an emergency.”

Jason Taper, Student Government’s safety agency co-director, said he appreciated the changes the University has made but believes there is more work to be done concerning safety measures on campus.

“The more our University does to make us safe in the places we spend our time studying, the better off we will be, and the more peace of mind we can have to focus on being students,” said Taper, Plan II and government senior. “When we have the tools to save each others’ lives, we can make a significant difference.”