UT announces increased safety measures following downtown Austin stabbings

Neha Madhira

UT President Gregory Fenves sent a campuswide email Sunday regarding safety near campus following the stabbing of two UT students last week.

“Incidents like this serve as a reminder that we must remain focused on keeping members of the UT community safe,” Fenves said in the email. 

A woman was arrested last Thursday after Police said she confessed to stabbing multiple people on 6th Street in downtown Austin, according to KVUE. David Carter, UT Police Department chief, confirmed Sunday morning via Twitter that two of the victims were UT students. Carter said in the tweet that UTPD notified the Austin Police Department and connected to Student Emergency Services to follow up on care for the second student.

“Never hesitate to tell someone if u are assaulted,” Carter said in the tweet. “Police will always keep your identity confidential.”

In the email, Fenves said he is working with Kevin Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, to obtain funding for additional UTPD officers, expanded patrols and upgraded security-related technology in West Campus. 

Fenves said he will have more details about this expansion in the coming days and weeks. 

In a tweet published Sunday, Carter confirmed UTPD would work to implement Fenves’ plan for increased security technology and expanded patrols in West Campus. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered for increased Texas Department of Public Safety patrols in a letter to the DPS director Steve McCraw following another series of stabbings in Austin. Abbott ordered the patrols to monitor within two blocks of all Austin state buildings, including the University.

“I’ve heard urgent pleas by UT students about increasing lighting and security tools around campus,” Abbott said in a tweet Sunday. “I shared my expectations to UT leaders & expect results next month. Safety First.” 

Fenves also recommended in the email that students use the Night Rides program if they ever find themselves in an “uncomfortable situation.” The UT Night Rides program is a ride-hailing program provided by Lyft from the campus to students’ homes, according to the University’s Parking and Transportation Services website. 

“To our students, please take normal precautions and be aware of your surroundings when you go out — especially at night,” Fenves said. “In the days ahead, please be aware of your safety as you keep our injured students in your thoughts. Thank you to all who have expressed concern and support.”