ASU officials said fewer transients are loitering at the Downtown campus after University officials implemented a new policy in mid-March and added security personnel to the building in an attempt to address safety concerns.
Fewer non-ASU affiliated individuals are in the lobby of the University Center building, the spot on campus with the most traffic from transients, office assistant at the University Center, Susan Foley said.
“The word spread quickly,” Foley said.
Foley said students are more comfortable being in the University Center lobby, but transients will likely start passing through the building again in the summer months, Foley said.
“I am sure we will see the problem again when it gets hot out,” Foley said.
Foley said she directs transients to the Burton Barr Central Library on Central Avenue and Culver Street.
“I have empathy for them, but their place is at the public library,” Foley said.
University Police Sgt. Albert Phillips said the policy was implemented to protect faculty, staff and student safety.
“I have seen less non-ASU affiliated individuals since the policy taken place,” Phillips said.
An ASU Police aide was placed at the University Center front desk where most behavioral concerns were originating, he said.
Campus police removes people from University property based on behavior rather than appearance.
Journalism freshman Harley Zugbaum said she hasn’t seen as many homeless people at the Taylor Place cafeteria since the policy was implemented.
Zugbaum said student safety concerns unique to the Downtown campus make the policy necessary.
“We are not so much of a college town like Tempe,” Zugbaum said.
She said she feels safer at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication building and Taylor Place residence hall but not in the common areas outside of the buildings at night.
“We don’t feel safe unless we have Mace and guys with us,” Zugbaum said. “Being downtown, you are more of a target.”
Nursing freshman Tori Hiatt said she has seen less homeless people asking for money, but they are still present on the campus despite the policy.
She said she feels comfortable on campus and has never felt threatened.
“(Transients) are always going to be around,” Hiatt said. “(Police) can’t get rid of them.”
Holly Tavera, a nutrition and health promotion freshman, said she is used to homeless people in urban areas because she grew up in Los Angeles.
“It’s what you can expect from a downtown,” Tavera said.
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