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UNCC students’ petition: Improve campus security

A group of UNC Charlotte students has launched an online petition, asking the school to improve security in the wake of an attack on a student last week in a classroom building.

But UNCC officials say they are making improvements to security and add that the campus is, on the whole, a safe place.

The petition drive, organized by student Patrick Tobin of Monroe, follows the reported sexual assault of a female student about 5 p.m. Nov. 14 in a restroom inside the Fretwell building. Police searched without success for the suspect – identified as a white male in his 20s, wearing sweatpants and UNCC sweatshirt.

As of Wednesday morning, the petition had about 180 names, of 26,000 students at the school.

“Unfortunately, there are currently few security cameras, and a startling lack of security presence on foot,” Tobin said in the petition.

John Bland, a spokesman for UNCC, says police have done a good job of cutting the crime rate.

“Reported crime in virtually every category has decreased consistently in recent years,” Bland said, adding that campus police and school officials are always looking for new ways to improve security.

Tobin and other students are asking the school for more lighting and surveillance cameras; a safer transportation system on campus; and more campus police foot patrols. Tobin also notes that the school is spending $40.5 million to start a football program and says some of the money should go toward security.

The school’s chancellor, Philip Dubois, said Wednesday in a statement that UNCC has “invested nearly $5 million in a range of safety and security initiatives, including lighting, state-of-the-art door access systems, the Safe Ride program,” and more. Dubois said more than 300 “blue light” emergency phones have been installed on the campus.

And he said an additional $1 million-plus has been spent to address concerns raised during the annual Safe Walk, in which officials and student leaders walk across campus, looking for security issues.

Dubois said the school, with the help of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, is “carefully and vigorously investigating this incident.”

School officials and police say no suspect has been identified yet.

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