UT School Leaders Talk About Security

(WVLT) - The emotions from the Virginia Tech massacre are still fresh on the minds of UT students. The situation prompted students to come together Wednesday with their school leaders to talk about how to make their campus safer...and the students say just being heard puts them more at ease.

Thirty-four thousand students make the UT campus one of the states largest communities, but ask these young people where they feel the most vulnerable, and they'll tell you.

Along the pedestrian walkway, parking garages, and along the strip it's awful. I often feel unsafe walking to my car," Aleyna Bryant says.

It's in their own back yard. Graduate student, Sarah Peacock, says she and her classmates know how to change that.

To try and keep students out of some areas, they don't light areas as well," Peacock says.

That's where the UT administration comes in. They are listening to students on how to better protect them no matter where they are on campus...from adding more blue emergency phones, to letting students know where to go to find help.

"It shouldn't be a scary place..we have a profound culture of violence," Chancellor Loren Crabtree says.

As is evident by the Virginia Tech campus shootings.

"When it happened, I felt like it happened right here," Bryant says.

"The Virginia Tech massacre effected them greatly some say as much as the terror attacks of 9-11," Kasey Baker says.

And UT police want students to know along with increasing patrol officers, they're preparing for the worst.

"We continue to look at training and development. Had our staff trained on how to respond to critical incidences," Captain Keith Lambert says.

A collaboration of ideas that's making these students feel safer here at home...

"This is where I live. It needs to be a safe place, despite the fact it is a big campus," Bryant says.

"I'm willing to do my part," Peacock says.

If you didn't get to attend Wednesday's forum, organizers say they are planning more in the coming months to give more students a chance to voice their concerns and hear from school leaders.