Putting Student Safety First

An open letter to the chiefs of UTPD and APD regarding apparent racially motivated attacks near our campus.

We are writing on behalf of several student-led organizations within the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs to express our concern and frustration with the response to the recent “bleach bomb” attacks near campus. These attacks are appalling and appear especially insidious, as racial minorities have been prime targets.

We thank you for the work you did to investigate last year’s attacks. However, we are concerned that there seems to be little progress in the current and previous investigations to identify those responsible. We, like many others in our community, are growing frustrated that those responsible have gone unpunished and have continued to carry out such attacks.

We are also concerned about the institutional response to these attacks. Statements issued last month conveyed a lack of urgency in finding the assailants and, instead, undermine the victims’ reports. Students report that they do not feel safe on or near campus, and victims say they see no point in reporting such assaults when little seems to be done. We fear that the cumulative effect of the lack of developments is sending a message to these students that their safety is not a priority.

Given the apparent motivation behind these attacks, it is crucial that local and university law enforcement join the Austin and UT communities in adopting a zero-tolerance position in regard to such attacks. We do hope that you will be able to devote more resources to this investigation before more students fall victim to bleach attacks and someone is seriously injured.

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