Do UTEP residents feel safe on campus after Idaho murders?

+%0A%0A%28Right+to+left%29+Madison+Mogen%2C+Kaylee+Goncalves%2C+Ethan+Chapin+and+Xana+Kernodle+were+the+victims+of+the+Idaho+murders+that+occurred+Nov.+13%2C+2022.+Photos+courtesy+of+Zana+Kernodle+and+Kaylee+Goncalve%E2%80%99s+Instagrams.+

(Right to left) Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were the victims of the Idaho murders that occurred Nov. 13, 2022. Photos courtesy of Zana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalve’s Instagrams.

Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Staff Reporter

After the recent deaths of four Idaho College students on Nov. 13, 2022, the safety of student residents in housing comes into question. Housing and Residence Life, the Dean of Students Office and the UTEP Police Department are three of the many resources UTEP provides for students, there are also three different properties: Miner Heights, Miner Village and Miner Canyon. Having such a vast space to cover, what specific safety procedures and measures are put in place to protect student residents? Do students who live on campus feel safe? 

UTEP Housing and Residence Life ensures the safety of student residents living on campus. A recent interview with Director of Housing and Residence Life, Ray Gordon and Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Catie McCorry-Andalis stated how both departments have their own ways of conducting safety protocols and helping students feel secure.  

“I’m very proud of how safe our institution is and how safe our residence halls are, but they’re safe because we have a caring community who looks out for each other.” McCorry-Andalis said. 

 “Students are living together in a community and they take a high level of ownership to the safety and their own wellbeing; they do speak up,” Gordon said. “We have had students and staff say that there’s somebody in the community that doesn’t belong there. It’s something that you don’t think about until you’re in that situation.” 

Approximately six hundred to eight hundred students live at each property. However, the total fluctuates every semester. For this year, all properties are at one hundred percent capacity. 

 “That’s so important when you’re living, you know, in a different area of town, you’re not living with all college students so that experience is very different, but living on campus, (if) there’s an on-call situation, the RAs are there from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. When the traditional offices are closed, and we have a whole other structure behind that.” Gordon said. 

Daniella LaBier, a sophomore studying communication studies who lives at Miner Canyon, is one student who feels safe with the safety protocols in place.  

“Yeah, I have thought about it actually and I do feel safe here,” LaBier said. “I think, Miner Canyon does have safety precautions with having a specific key being in our ID and you can’t come in or out without it and even when the gates broken, they do it in a timely matter to fix it.” 

Someone with a different take is Maya Martinez, a sophomore in biological science, who is a current resident at Miner Village. 

 “Well, I try not to do laundry at night or things like that, um just because I don’t go out at night,” Martinez said. “It’s for the cars mostly but you have to use your Miner ID to open up the barricade that lets the car in, but most of the time its broken, and people just break it off, so it’s kind of like anybody could really drive in here.”  

LaBier and Martinez both feel moderately safe at their properties, however, Martinez feels like some things could be better.  

To stay safe, some suggested safety measures residents can take are locking your door, being aware of your surroundings, walking with someone you know or having people in your surroundings such as other students. Housing and Residence life, Dean of Students and other campus departments that protect the safety of students on campus are available and accessible 24 hours a day.  

Students who may need to address any concerns may reach the Dean of Students at [email protected] or housing at [email protected] 

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]