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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Library safety questioned after knife incident and arrest

Library safety questioned after knife incident and arrest

Despite Wednesday’s threat that led to UAPD officers arresting a man at gunpoint, some students still say that the library is a safe place to study.

Timothy Wayne Mulford, the man who police arrested, was wearing “rugged clothes, looked homeless and hadn’t shaven in a long time,” said Joe Boehm, a communication undergraduate who had been in the library at the time of the incident. Mulford, a non-UA affiliate, was staring awkwardly at girls and trying to open doors, Boehm added.

Robert Mitchell, the interim associate dean of libraries, was one of several people who approached Mulford. Mitchell said that because the library is supported by taxpayer money, it’s problematic to filter individuals based on appearance.

“There’s no moat around campus or barbed wire around the library,” he added.

Staff do patrol the building he said, and while the library and campus are safe, Mitchell said he would leave deciding how to make it more secure “to the experts.”

“My own view is that any public campus is going to be at risk of these acts, short of building a large wall around campus,” he added. “I believe the library is a safe place and was a safe place Wednesday to the best it could be.”

Imposing a wall may be impractical, but resources are in place to maintain student’s safety and notify them regarding similar incidents.

UAlert is a service controlled by administration and UAPD that warns subscribers via text message or email of emergency occurrences at the UA. A notification was sent regarding the situation in the library after the problem was neutralized. Officers responded within three minutes of getting the call, said Juan Alvarez, a public information officer for UAPD.

Alvarez added that the reasoning for the delay was the incident never “spilled out” onto campus, and wasn’t an ongoing issue.

Library administrators also said that the event was an isolated one and difficult to see coming.

“I think this was a pretty random, rare event that could’ve happened anywhere,” Mitchell said. “It’s very difficult, this person was well within the student demographic.”

The library has policies to regulate unaffiliated individuals’ entrance past 9 p.m. by requiring student identification, but during the day, only the staff patrol the area.

“I feel real safe on campus to be honest,” Boehm added. “But stuff like this happens all the time on campuses.”

Boehm said he believes, due to high tuition, students shouldn’t have to bear the fear of campus safety.

Alvarez recommends bystanders notify authorities or faculty immediately of individuals acting suspicious, but said that beyond reporting questionable activity, random acts like Mulford’s are hard to prevent.

“Anytime you’re dealing with human behavior, a lot of it is hard to avoid,” he said.

Both Alvarez and Mitchell said the event will be examined and changes to safety policies surrounding the library and campus will be altered if necessary.

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