AUSTIN (KXAN) — The start of the semester is officially underway at the University of Texas at Austin.
On Wednesday evening, the university will welcome over 8,000 new students, including first-year, transfer, graduate and law students, at its Gone to Texas event.
Yet several students and their parents are concerned about safety at a popular place to walk near West Campus.
Human waste, syringes and trash are piling up at a homeless encampment located just feet away from The Drag and next door to the University Co-op.
Rachel Robinson said she avoids walking around the area at night.
“As a woman, it’s probably a little different,” she said. “I usually try and walk around with friends just to feel a little safer.”
SafeHorns, a nonprofit advocating for student safety said the encampment has become a danger to not only the students and businesses nearby but also to the people living there.
Texas junior Nihar Rao hopes a group can come in and offer the homeless individuals the resources necessary to help them get off the street.
“No one chooses to sleep on the street,” he said. “There should be places for them to sleep or take a shower even. The City of Austin really should really help them out with that.”
KXAN reached out to the office of UT president Jay Hartzell. It responded with the following statement:
“The University of Texas at Austin’s highest priority is the safety and security of the entire campus community. In addition, the university continues to convene a special task force, appointed by President Hartzell, to work on ongoing measures. UTPD continues to be an active partner with APD and other local law enforcement agencies when addressing safety concerns, including diligent and regular coordinated patrols in the area.“