Arizona Daily Wildcat February 27, 1998
No solutions proposed to address campus shootingsMeetings between university police and Dean of Students representatives to discuss safety at UA-sponsored events in the wake of recent shootings on campus have yet to yield any viable solutions.
Two Tucson men were shot in an alley between the Park Union and Kaibab-Huachuca Residence Hall shortly before midnight Feb. 13 after an argument outside of a Delta Sigma Theta sorority-sponsored party escalated into a gun battle.
The men were shot in the feet and legs, treated at local hospitals and released.
Associate Dean of Students Alexis Hernandez said representatives from his office have had meetings with student leaders, police and event organizers, and agree the various parties held on campus are attracting non-students, who seem to cause most of the trouble.
Neither the victims nor the alleged shooters in this month's incident were University of Arizona students.
Hernandez said the meetings have not turned up any answers, but leaders will continue to gather ideas until it is determined how to ensure an abundance of campus events while also keeping them safe for students.
The National Society of Black Engineers had planned to host a party at the Park Student Union Feb. 20, and met with officials from the Dean of Students the week before to discuss safety issues.
Brian Debnam, NSBE president and an electrical engineering senior, said his organization chose to postpone the party because of safety concerns in light of the shooting the week before.
"We did not want to enter into something like that again for the second consecutive weekend," Debnam said.
The party's purpose is to raise money to help members attend an upcoming national engineering convention in March.
Shots have rung out on campus two other times in the past year.
In March a man fired several shots in the Park Union's west parking lot during the early morning of a party sponsored by the NSBE. No one was hurt in that incident.
And in July, a man was shot outside a party hosted by students identifying themselves as members of Kappa Alpha Psi, which was not a UA-recognized organization at the time of the incident. The man, who was not seriously injured, was shot in the buttocks while standing in the parking lot west of the party's location, the Theta Tau fraternity house, 1030 N. Martin Ave.
University police Chief Harry Hueston II said it is impossible to keep non-student troublemakers from being attracted to UA-sponsored events, and keeping the violence away from the UA is not easily remedied.
"We cannot restrict people from coming on campus, but we can restrict people from coming into the parties," Hueston said.
This is done through guest lists and requiring at least two off-duty police officers present at the functions as security, Hueston said.
Hernandez said security is determined by event location, the number of party guests expected and "what kind of people is it going to draw."
"We don't want to cancel or stop students from having events on campus, so something else has to happen," Hernandez said. "We don't want to make this a Fort Knox situation. Most of these problems occur outside, so the issue is not just more cops."
Hueston said the visual presence of officers outside of these events acts as a deterrent for the type of actions that led to gunfire outside of the Park Union earlier this month.
Immediately following the Feb. 13 shooting, police arrested Osahafo J. Brewer, 17, of the 3100 block of North Wilson Street, and Xamaca L. Carpenter, 20, of the 1900 block of East Hidalgo Vista.
Brewer and Carpenter were each charged with one count of felony endangerment, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Both were in custody at the Pima County Jail yesterday, being held in lieu of $500,000 bond each.
Hueston agreed with Hernandez that deploying an army of police officers at each event is not the answer.
Hueston said there has to be an effort from the community as well as enforcement agencies to get the message out to surrounding communities that violent behavior is not tolerated on campus.
"There's a need for police officers, but not armed camps," Hueston said. "The voice of the community is a much louder voice than having a bunch of cops around."