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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    One year later

    One year ago today, the UA community experienced a shocking loss when freshman Mia Henderson was killed in her dorm room at Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall. Her roommate, Galareka Harrison, was charged with stabbing her 18-year-old roommate 23 times after writing a fake suicide note.

    Today, many students still view the event as tragic, but for the most part, it is not something they think about on a regular basis.

    Lance Bergstein and Chad King, both pre-business freshmen, are randomly-selected roommates in Yavapai Residence Hall. They said that the stabbing is viewed as an extreme case of what can happen when you get too many people concentrated in one place.

    “”It’s not too surprising to know there was a stabbing here,”” King said. “”You hear about different stuff going on every night with police and dorm rooms.””

    Sergeant Juan Alvarez, public information officer for the University of Arizona Police Department, said that the stabbing incident was an isolated situation and that overall, the campus is safe and students should not be concerned.

    “”The campus is really safe compared to the overall population,”” Alvarez said. “”It’s a very few number of people that are assaulted (each year), and it’s normally people that know each other.””

    Patrick Dangle, a creative writing sophomore, said that he could remember the day the stabbing occurred, and he recalled being shocked by what had happen.

    “”It sounded harsh, especially since it was her roommate,”” Dangle said. “”It seems like a really messed up thing to do to your roommate.””

    Bergstein and King said that incidents such as what happened last year could be caused because people simply do not know how to adjust to a larger campus.

    “”Some people are really surprised (when they get to the UA),”” Bergstein said. “”They grew up in a sheltered environment and get shocked when they get out here.””

    UAPD, the Dean of Students Office and Residence Life work together closely to make sure that all residence halls provide a safe living environment for their residents, Alvarez said.

    “”If we come across someone who is a risk to themselves or others, we can have them evaluated by medical personnel,”” Alvarez said. “”We try and stress to our community that any time someone sees any suspicious behavior … they should let someone know.””

    Recent surveys from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona have shown that safety is one of students’ main concerns when they are on campus, said Tommy Bruce, ASUA president.

    To help accommodate this concern, Bruce said that the ASUA created the position of safety advocate director.

    This position will work directly with the coordinator of campus safety in the Dean of Students Office. The person will be in charge of creating a student safety coalition, which will work with UA administrators in order to ensure that all UA students’ safety concerns are met, Bruce said.

    While this student-occupied position is currently vacant, Bruce said that they are currently taking applications and he hopes to fill the position within the next two weeks.

    Tyler Wogalter, a pre-business freshman, was previously unaware of the stabbing and was stunned when informed about the incident, but he did not feel that it was a major concern for him.

    “”Shocking … I’m at a loss for words – that’s crazy,”” Wogalter said. “”I trust my roommate. I’m not going to steal his money. He is not going to steal mine, and I don’t think he is going to stab me anytime soon.””

    In 2007, there were 53 assaults, 10 aggravated assaults and one homicide, Alvarez said. That number represented a 49 percent increase over the amount of incidents that were reported in the previous year. Alvarez insisted that the difference between the two years could have been based on the circumstances of the incidents and was not significant.

    Wogalter said he feels the university does a good job keeping the campus safe and that he is not overly concerned about crime at the UA.

    “”I think they are doing a pretty good job with the (electronic) locks on the doors and how you have to check in at night,”” Wogalter said. “”I’m more just worried about theft because I have heard that that is a problem in all dorms, but I’m not concerned for my life.””

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