LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a 350-acre campus, just east of the Las Vegas strip. With over twenty-five thousand students in attendance, it can be hard to keep track of who is on campus.
A favorite hang-out spot at the university is the Student Union, which also draws in a homeless crowd.
“I really just chalk it up to it being a public university,” Christian Williams said. “Anybody can step out on campus though but yeah I do see a lot of the homeless on here sometimes here.”
Christian Williams is from the Bay Area in California. He’s studying criminology and is all too familiar with the homeless crisis, but said he does feel safe attending classes.
“I think the university police department does a great job of making sure everybody’s safe and keeping everybody aware. I think it’s actually great at making sure everybody’s actually good here,” Williams added.
Some of those safety measures include an emergency call box system that dispatches police to your location.
“I think those are really good tools that we have used to prevent violence and crime on campus,” Williams said. “I think if we educate the leaders here at school on what’s going on, we’ll be able to keep everybody safe and tackle the problem and just make sure everybody’s good with going to class. They do a good job right now.”
While the homeless issue expands to more than just UNLV, student James Sims said it’s going to take the community as a whole to tackle this issue.
“We have a couple of homeless people around the campus that hang in the bathroom or just walk around and just sleep,” Sims explained.
Sims saw the impact of homelessness on Las Vegas after doing a ride-along with Metro police and local organizations.
“What I found was a lot of the homeless people were turning down the help. That led me to believe is there really a homeless problem or do people want to be homeless because it’s easier to do drugs on the street than get help? So as far as what the city can do, I don’t know and I don’t know where you would push these homeless people to. I feel like it’s wrong to move people like cattle.”
Students tell 8 News Now they have a Rebel card which gives them access to certain buildings and limits who can come and go inside.
According to Dr. Carlton Craig, the director of social work at UNLV, there will be several proposals to address homelessness on campus.
In a statement, UNLV officials said “As a public institution, UNLV strives to offer safe and welcoming spaces for our students, employees, and visitors. This includes maintaining a positive experience for students and other members of the university community while also balancing access opportunities for visitors to our campuses.”