Students suggest safety measures after latest incident in year of high crime

A non-student’s presence at a University of Pittsburgh residence hall has some students requesting blue lights, cameras, and an ID policy that Pitt relaxed in July 2022.

After a high-profile sexual assault in October 2022, the creator of a petition with 6,000 signatures faced opponents arguing that more campus police ‘could make students of color feel unsafe.’

A recent safety incident at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) has some students requesting an ID policy that Pitt relaxed in July 2022. 

A non-student’s presence at a residence hall follows a year of high-profile crime at Pitt, and students are suggesting cameras, blue lights, and other safety measures on a campus where the idea of increased police presence has received backlash. 

In the latest safety incident, Pitt students complained about the school’s decision to no longer require ID swipes for all buildings. According to a report by The Pitt News, ID swipes were enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, “some students said they think Pitt should bring building access restrictions back and that the policy helped improve campus safety,” The Pitt News continued. 

“Currently, residential buildings and apartment-style accommodations require swipe access, but all other on-campus buildings do not.”

Despite the policies for residential areas, The Pitt News described a student’s encounter at his residence hall with a man who did not appear to be a student. Police reportedly removed him from the building, though he possibly tore down decorations in one of the dorm’s hallways. 

[RELATED: Student government partners with university police to combat rising crime]

Other recent incidents include reported theft, retail theft, and campus police assisting city police with an assault and a “harassment by communication”, according to one report from the weekly Police Blotter. 

The incidents follow students’ outcry over crime during the fall 2022 semester. In October, a sexual assault was reported from inside the Cathedral of Learning, the epicenter of the Pittsburgh campus. This marked campus police’s third sexual assault crime alert for the academic year. 

An anonymous student created a petition in response to the assault. The petition urged Pitt to increase both police presence on campus and to “add security cameras to stairwells, bring back swipe access and increase accountability of perpetrators.” 

Despite reportedly garnering at least 6,000 signatures, not everyone was on board with the petition’s suggestions.

The petition’s opponents claimed that increasing police on campus “could make students of color feel unsafe,” according to Campus Reform. Someone identifying as its creator issued an apology, writing, “The fact that it seems like more campus cops are being added because of something that I did makes me a monster.”

The anonymous student also announced, “I’m considering academic leave, or transferring to another school, if that’s possible.”

[RELATED: ANALYSIS: UC Davis’s anti-cop history makes administration unprepared for campus protest]

For campus safety, Pitt student Khaleil Laracuente argued in favor of “stricter security.” He told Campus Reform that all building entrances should require scanning a Pitt ID. 

He continued by discussing police presence on campus and the retracted petition, adding that “it’s quite sad an anonymous student who raised concern over this last semester was practically exiled from Pitt.” 

Campus Reform contacted the University of Pittsburgh and the Pitt Police Department for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow Logan Dubil on Twitter.