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Three months after a shooting on its campus, UNLV tries to address safety concerns

Associated Press
University of Las Vegas officials discussed efforts to improve campus safety three months after a shooting on its campus. Putting a focus on mental health is at the heart of their efforts.

It’s been three months since a deadly shooting on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. On Tuesday, the university president discussed efforts to maintain a balance between campus security and freedom.

In our region, mass killings have occurred in Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Idaho. The most recent was a December shooting at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

President Keith Whitfield told students and faculty that UNLV Rebels are resilient. Following the Dec. 6 shooting, the university started “Rebel Recovery,” an effort focused on enhancing security without becoming isolated.

“They’re researching new technologies. Different ways to think about how we have locks for doors and how faculty maybe could control the locks by their phone,” said Whitfield.

Rebel Recovery is expected to present its security recommendations by the end of the semester.

Whitfield, whose four-year contract was recently renewed and who is also now the Chair of the Western Region Presidents Council, said mental health is at the heart of the efforts. And he noted that mental health is part of “well-being” individually and collectively.

“We’re only three months since that incident," he said. "And we have to take the philosophy that we’re really gonna have it so that we leave no Rebel behind."

Despite the tragedy, UNLV had a historic high for spring enrollment with 29,000 students, as well as a 95% retention rate from the fall to the spring and a 50.1% graduation rate.

Three faculty members were killed, and another injured during the December shooting. The fate of the building where the shooting took place is still to be determined.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.