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Faculty concerns prompt added patrols at U. Research Park

By Marjorie Cortez, KSL  |  Posted Dec 17th, 2017 @ 10:18am


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SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah police are increasing patrols and implementing other safety measures in Research Park in response to concerns raised by faculty, Margaret Clayton, president of the Academic Senate, told U. trustees Tuesday.

The changes come after several people spoke out during the open-mic segment of the Academic Senate's regular meetings, Clayton said.

"For two months in a row, faculty have stood up and indicated some safety concerns, that they felt uncomfortable, especially around the Research Park area," she said.

Within a week of hearing their concerns, University Police Chief Dale Brophy developed a plan for increased surveillance and working with specific buildings. The full plan will be presented to the Academic Senate next month, she said.

Clayton said Brophy responded with "an amazing, very quick response, to addressing faculty concerns about safety."

Clayton said some of the concerns were related to facilities in Research Park that "are not locked the way some of our more modern buildings are. So our doctoral students or faculty who wish to work late, in the evenings or perhaps over the weekends, they felt like they'd like to have increased patrols, escort services and plans for more permanent responses," she said.

The evening of Oct. 30, the campus was locked down as police searched for a suspect in the fatal shooting during the carjacking of an international student at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon.

Chenwei Guo, a 23-year-old computer science student from China, was killed. U. student Xiaoying Ding, who had been a passenger in Guo's car, was also shot at as she fled the area on foot.

According to court documents, the suspect, Austin "AJ" Boutain, had staked out the area all day waiting for the right victim to carjack — and potentially kidnap and kill.

Austin Boutain and his wife, Kathleen Boutain, 23, face multiple felony charges in connection with the fatal shooting.

In December 2016, a Salt Lake couple died as a result of murder-suicide outside ARUP Laboratories in Research Park.

Richard Peralta, 25, approached 23-year-old Katherine Peralta in the parking lot of the facility and shot her multiple times, killing her, and then shot himself, according to university police.

At the time, Brophy said the woman's death was the first murder on the University of Utah campus in about 10 years.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

Marjorie Cortez, KSL
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