You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Austin to study lighting in West Campus to address UT safety concerns

Austin’s City Council voted Thursday to begin a study of lighting in West Campus after students have shown increasing concern over their safety in the dense University of Texas-area neighborhood.

The resolution directs Austin Energy to examine how lighting might be improved for pedestrian safety.

The perception of danger recently in West Campus hit a fever pitch after the May 1 stabbing that killed UT freshman Harrison Brown on the university campus. A false report of a stabbing in West Campus that same day created a “panic” among residents, many of them fraternity members who also falsely believed they were being targeted in the attack, said UT junior Colton Becker, a former student government member who helped push the study forward.

“It was a panic,” said Becker, who also sits on UT’s Interfraternity Council executive board. “It definitely spurred a lot of tension and anxiety. We were advising students to not leave their houses, to not wear shirts with their (Greek) letters.”

Homelessness on the Drag — the stretch of Guadalupe Street that lines the west border of the UT campus — isn’t a new phenomenon. But Becker said he has in the past year heard numerous anecdotes of crime happening in the area, many lewd acts or petty thefts involving people believed to be homeless.

In his case, Becker said he once had a cup of coffee snatched from his hand while on the Drag.

“It is a complicated issue, and there are many different facets that need to be assessed, but the lighting study is a good first step,” Becker said.

Austin Energy would conduct the study with no additional cost to the city. Mayor Steve Adler sponsored the resolution after he met with Becker and with Joell Sullivan-McNew from the parent group SafeHorns, which was formed in the aftermath of the 2016 killing of UT dance freshman Haruka Weiser on campus. The suspect in Weiser’s killing, Meechaiel Criner, had been staying at a homeless shelter for teenagers when he was arrested.

The study would look at the neighborhood area between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and West 29th Street and between Guadalupe Street and Lamar Boulevard. That part of the city has a rate of property crime higher than the city’s average, according to the resolution.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Severe thunderstorm warning for north central Bastrop Co. until 6 p.m.
Severe thunderstorm warning for north central Bastrop Co. until 6 p.m.

5:20 p.m. update: A severe thunderstorm warning is now in effect for north central Bastrop County near Elgin until 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. Winds could top 60 mph in these storms, with some quarter-sized hail. Earlier: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for 19 Texas counties, including Bastrop...
Texas Senate approves bill aimed at identifying postpartum depression
Texas Senate approves bill aimed at identifying postpartum depression

The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at increasing identification of postpartum depression among mothers participating in federally backed health care programs for low-income families. Under House Bill 2466 by Rep. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, mothers who bring their kids in for checkups can get screened for postpartum depression...
Dan Patrick airs inaccurate $20,000 homeowner savings claim
Dan Patrick airs inaccurate $20,000 homeowner savings claim

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made such a dramatic claim about tax rate legislation — $20,000 in savings for the average homeowner every year — that we launched a fact check. Patrick, in May 17 remarks to Capitol reporters, declared that Senate Bill 2, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, must pass, in Patrick’s view, for lawmakers...
Man, 21, accused of sexual assault from when he was 14
Man, 21, accused of sexual assault from when he was 14

A 21-year-old man is being charged for a sex crime he committed in Williamson County when he was 14, according to a court document. James Farmer was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The crime happened March 3, 2010, in Williamson County, according to the Waiver of Jurisdiction...
TxDOT to pay $8.9 million for Southeast Austin site to combine offices
TxDOT to pay $8.9 million for Southeast Austin site to combine offices

The Texas Department of Transportation, looking to consolidate several of its Austin facilities, will pay $8.9 million for 49 acres of vacant land in Southeast Austin, assuming that the Texas Transportation Commission approves the sale this week. The wooded land, near East Stassney Lane and Burleson Road, would become the home of about 2,200 TxDOT...
More Stories