University of New Mexico Considers Adding Iron Fence Around Campus
University of New Mexico officials are reportedly considering plans to add an iron fence around the school’s main campus as a security measure.
- By Jessica Davis
- June 05, 2019
University of New Mexico officials are reportedly considering a plan to add an iron fence around the school’s main campus as a security measure. The proposal for the fence is contained an a 45-page “Main Campus Perimeter Security Access Study,” which the university commissioned.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the fence would be 10 feet tall and made of wrought iron, with sharp points at the top, stucco portals and “a metallic wolf staring down people who try to pass through.”
Officials from the university have not said how seriously the proposal is being considered. According to a spokesman, the fencing project would cost an estimated $1.6 million.
“UNM is continuously evaluating all possible solutions that improve safety for our campus community,” UNM President Garnett Stokes said in a statement. “There are no imminent decisions about perimeter security and any strategy involves multiple things to consider before moving forward.”
UNM commissioned a “main campus perimeter security access study” from Safeguards Consulting. In the study, which was completed in January, consultants suggested the university add 13,000 feet of 8- to 10-foot tall fencing around the main campus.
The recommended plan for the fence would include more than 25 entrance or exit points around the campus. The university could keep out unauthorized vehicles at “controllable vehicle portals” by using card readers or closing the entrances manually. At pedestrian entrances, they could control access with turnstiles or swinging gates.
According to the consultants, it would be difficult and time-consuming but not impossible for someone without key card access to climb over the 8- to 10-foot tall fence.
“It does not have to be assumed that UNM will keep the perimeter secure at all times,” the study reads. “A common approach to a secure perimeter is to have several ‘main’ pedestrian and vehicle entrances unlocked during normal daytime hours.”
UNM officials said parent concerns led to the consideration of a perimeter fence.
“I talk to the parents going through orientation, and in almost every session, the parents talk about homeless individuals coming on campus and ask, ‘What can you do to stop this.’ Well, we’re an open campus. That’s how we’ve always been,” said Rob Burford, the university’s compliance director. “I know this fence or whatever is out there. Parents have asked directly, ‘Why don’t you have something like that?’”
Burford compiles UNM’s crime statistics and said he didn’t know if the perimeter fencing would affect on-campus crimes.
“There would be a lot of conversations if we ever did put up something like that here,” he said. “The community would be scratching their heads. Why would we be shutting ourselves off from Albuquerque?”
Officials with UNM’s Faculty Senate declined to comment.
“I also recognize that our university has to balance two important concerns: the safety of our students, faculty and staff, as well as community members who join us on campus, and the desire to be open and to serve the public through our role as the University for New Mexico,” said Ryan Gregg, the university’s staff council president. “I appreciate that President Stokes and her administration are taking both of those concerns seriously.”