Updates to safety procedures in the College of Fine Arts

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Editor's Note: This page will be updated as new information is released.

Updated Aug. 17, 2016

The College of Fine Arts and university have been working over the summer to improve and refine security and safety protocols on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Here is an update for this fall semester: 

  • Security Guard Patrol: The College of Fine Arts has hired UTPD to provide dedicated security guards to patrol all Fine Arts buildings between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., seven days a week (with the exception of University Holidays). When there is no patrol and buildings are closed, unsupervised students will not have access to the building.

    Security guard officers will be unarmed, dressed in informal security attire, and easily identified as COFA and UTPD guards. Their job is to make sure only authorized students, faculty and guests are present in COFA buildings at night. They will walk between Fine Arts buildings and visit key areas within each building, creating a gentle, unobtrusive presence for our students, staff and faculty.   

  • College of Fine Arts lanyards after 10 p.m.: Students in our buildings must now wear COFA lanyards – distributed for free to all COFA students and faculty – when in our buildings after 10 pm. Security guard officers will be looking for this visible ID.  Additionally, lanyards provide useful emergency phone numbers.
  • Building Hours/card access: The University is moving toward requiring buildings with automated door controls to reduce building access to one “celebrated” door in the evening hours. COFA buildings have already strictly reduced access to their buildings in the evening hours. 

The COFA Safety and Security Committee will continue to meet 1-2 times per semester to provide feedback to the dean’s office and serve as important information conduits and ambassadors for safety.

For the past several months, the UT campus has been undergoing a security assessment by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the DPS report is due this month. The university has pledged to implement changes recommended by DPS.

Please note below additional updates from University Operations about campus safety. We encourage you to visit their website for the latest campus safety updates and to learn more about safety tips and resources at UT.

  • Evening Transportation Programs: A number of changes this summer are helping students, faculty members, staff and visitors.

    • UT staff and members of the Student Government have partnered to strengthen the SURE Walk program, which provides walking partners from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. (For help, call 512-232-9255.) The university is working to add additional transportation resources to complement SURE Walk, including a transportation app for coordinating walks.
    • Parking and Transportation Services will increase its marketing of low-cost night permits for students, staff and faculty members to make it easier to park close to campus at night. Longer term, the university is looking at acquiring golf carts to deliver drivers to their cars in the east lots when the shuttle is not operating.
    • If a student, staffer or faculty member needs a van ride on campus, they should call 512-471-4441, Option 9. The vans are available from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week.
    • These changes complement the UT Shuttle System, which operates until 11 p.m. every day during semesters except Saturday.
    • Longer term, the university is looking at additional improvements to make the nighttime campus as safe as possible for the entire university community. 
  • Landscape Across Campus: DPS and university staff are working to reduce vegetation to provide better security and visibility throughout specific areas of the campus, while maintaining enough vegetation to prevent dangerous erosion. To that end, Landscape Services has initiated a project to remove invasive species from the Waller Creek bed (similar to the project going on in the health district) and stabilize the banks with more sustainable, native plants. The first phase of this project near the Winship Building, and removal of these plans has improved visibility and sightlines across the creek.

​Please see this July 5 update from University Operations to learn more about changes to campus lighting, call boxes, camera/video systems and more.