On the night of April 3, 2016, Freshman student Haruka Weiser was returning to her dorm after dance practice when she was brutally assaulted. Her body was found two days later by University of Texas at Austin police.

Later that year, concerned UT Austin parents came together to form SafeHorns. Joell McNew, one of the founders and current president, launched the organization with the goal to fight for public safety for students and stakeholders on the UT Austin campus and surrounding student neighborhoods.

Side by side images of Haruka Weiser, on the left, and Harrison Brown, on the right, in their high school senior photos.

However, nearly a year after Haruka’s death and the formation of our organization, 19-year-old Longhorn Harrison Brown became the next victim of on-campus violence. Brown was stabbed to death on May 1, 2017, reinforcing the need for us to continue being a voice in the community.

Since then, we have worked to make improvements around the university.

We have created a list of safety change requests for UT Austin. This list included ensuring lighting was up to standard and that emergency call boxes be added to West Campus. We have additionally achieved many safety goals such as attending National Safety Conferences and lobbying the City Council to include West Campus in the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST).

Throughout our time working on improving safety, we have made many key partnerships, which include: UT Student Government, Dean of Students, UTPD, APD, Downtown Austin Alliance, Greater Austin Crime Commission, City of Austin, UFCU, Downtown Community Court, University Co-op, HEB, KXAN, FOX, KVUE, CBS news, DobieTwenty21, Jamba Juice, Kendra Scott, American Campus Properties, and C. Jane.

We continue to be characterized by our passion and dedication to increasing public safety. Today, we are still composed of impassioned parents who believe that everyone deserves to feel safe on and off the 40 acres.