Union employees review building policy after stabbing

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Employees of the Union Building are reviewing building policies after an argument Tuesday evening between two homeless men escalated to physical violence.

Claudette Campbell, assistant director of operations and hospitality at the Union Building, said the Union has an all-hours building monitor who responds to emergency situations and calls emergency services when necessary. 

“We have protocol that we have developed through the years, and normally it’s observing the area,” Campbell said. “And, if there is any doubt that somebody is not being secure or is doing something improper, always call UTPD.”

The investigation surrounding the incident is still ongoing, but Campbell said UTPD assured her the two individuals involved in the incident knew each other and no one else in the building was a target.

The second floor of the Union Building, where the incident occurred, is open to the public until 10 p.m. every evening. After 10 p.m., access is restricted to UT students, faculty and staff.

“Our main goal is to make the building safe for students,” Campbell said. “If we’re going to be open until 3 in the morning, we want students to be in the building.”

Despite Tuesday’s incident, biology junior Sharon Joseph said she still feels safe studying at the Union and has never had any issues before.

“I guess when I first [heard] about it, I was like, ‘That’s really close to home,’” Joseph said. “I always walk by here, and I could have seen that. I feel like, overall, our campus is really good at having [police around] … but it’s cool that they put a lot of effort into trying to keep us safe.”

Campbell said the Union has a strong relationship with officers from UTPD. 

Gonzalo Gonzalez, UTPD patrol division captain, said officers respond as quickly as possible but want students to notify UTPD if a situation arises during the building’s public hours.

“We rely on people in the building to call us [and] tell us if there’s someone who was asked to leave … or if there’s some concerning behavior,” Gonzalez said. 

Campbell said officers also patrol the building after hours to make sure members of the University community can safely approach the building in the morning. 

“I would encourage students to use not just our building, but the other University Union buildings [and] to always be diligent,” Campbell said. “If they see something … definitely let us know.” 

Campbell said student feedback played an integral role in closing the building to the public between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and hopes students will continue to give feedback.