Two year anniversary of UT student Haruka Weiser's murder
It's been two years since freshman Haruka Weiser was murdered on the University of Texas campus. Her family, students and the UT Police Department have worked together since then to improve campus safety.
There have been many improvements including lighting, surveillance cameras and increased police presence and programs to keep students safe.
The death of dance major Weiser on April 3, 2016 shook the entire UT campus and the community.
Former Student Body Vice President Micky Wolf says, "I think forever it's changed our campus and for all the students who have been here for the last two years it's really changed their college experience and their life going forward."
Weiser was headed back to her dorm from dance practice when police say she was attacked and assaulted.
University of Texas Police Department Chief David Carter says there had not been a death on campus since the UT Tower shooting more than 50 years ago. Wesier's death created a palpable sense of fear in the community.
"When you have something like that occur, it takes time for a community to heal. Some of the things that really occurred as a result of that horrific day is the fact that we had a student community that recognized the value of being engaged with their police and with their communities," Chief Carter says. "And that's one of the things I think that we really see in terms of when we remember Haruka. We did not know her personally but we see her in basically all of our students today."
That helped put a spotlight on the security vulnerabilities at UT. The university worked in partnership with Weiser's family to expand it's Be Safe program. It includes the Walk With Me campaign to promote an environment where students care for each other.
All of April the Be Safe graphices will take on a gold color in Weiser's memory.
Other improvements include better lighting, new security systems in buidlings, reduction of overgrown vegetation and increased police patrols.
UT police will also soon be fully staffed at more than 100 officers. It's a vast increase from 67 in 2013.
Chief Carter says, "Maybe three four years ago we had a total of five districts. Each one of those districts was occupied by a police officer 24/7. In other words, now we are at the point where we have a total of eight districts. Six of them on campus, two of them off campus."
UT police recently worked with the Austin Police Department to map this larger area of focus. Both departments tackle crime within their perimeter and share information and notify students of any threats.
To continue to honor Weiser and celebrate her life, the Department of Theatre and Dance is presenting "Transcendence". It's a concert with part of the performance highlighting the impact Weiser had on the community.
Wolf says, "I've always been really proud to see how much the campus came together during those moments and I think it's shown great resiliance and kind of living their lives in a way that Haruka and Harrison did (Harrison Brown was a UT student who was killed in a stabbing attack on May 1, 2017) ... People full of passion and spirit for what they did and I feel like students take a lot of inspiration from that."
For more information about "Transcendence" or to get tickets you can go here.