UNM: Reports of homeless people on campus causes safety concerns

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico leaders said there are reports of homeless people on campus causing safety concerns. 

This comes as UNM is taking the next steps with its campus planning. 

“It definitely needs to be improved,” UNM senior Rae Ann Rodriguez said of campus safety. “There are times if I’m here at night where I definitely don’t feel safe.” 

UNM leaders reported that students are “physically or verbally accosted” by those without homes, saying homeless people “do drugs,” “use the steps as toilets,” and are “lying unconscious in front of buildings.” 

“I’ve seen a lot more people on campus. I’ve seen a lot more needles tucked away in benches,” Rodriguez said. 

“I definitely do see homeless people around. If it’s late at night, I guess you could say it could be concerning depending on the person,” UNM freshman Bill Jones said. 

However, many UNM students told KOB 4 they’re not concerned about homeless people on campus, though they’re glad to hear about the university’s plans. 

“I see the occasional homeless person here, homeless person there, but for the most part I feel pretty safe, and I think that UNM does the best that they can,” UNM freshman Kahlo Youtz said. 

University leaders are holding open houses to give students and anyone in the community the chance to learn about overall campus plans and to give feedback. 

“I think it’s hugely important. I know there are a lot of concerned parents and students and community members,” UNM Planner Rosie Dudley said. 

The 20-year vision includes plans for improvements to lighting, cameras, campus design, transportation and parking.

A university spokesperson said UNM is set to start implementing the plans early next year and is rolling out other safety improvements right now. 

There are more open house events Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Student Union Building.