Attacks on university campuses have made lurid headlines over the last few months, but they should not always be taken at face value.
Recently, a UT-Arlington student who made a police report claiming she was threatened at gunpoint on campus admitted that she’d lied, a university spokeswoman said.
The Dallas Morning News reported the UT-Arlington student had later told police she did not even attend the school the day she said the incident occurred.
The claim was initially taken seriously by UT-Arlington which said it had been investigating the complaint with Arlington, Denton and University of North Texas police, according to school spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan.
University President Vistasp M. Karbhari issued a written statement saying that he appreciated the police efforts in the case.
“We take these issues very seriously,” he said. “The safety and security of all UT Arlington students, faculty and staff is our utmost concern.”
The name of the student who made the allegation has not been released. It is not clear if charges will be brought against her.
The university had issued an alert last Friday stating that the student told investigators she had been followed six miles by a man driving a pickup before reaching the university campus. She claimed when she parked her car at the university, the man threatened her and pointed a gun at her before he left the scene.
The student then posted on social media that she may have been targeted because she is Muslim. In a subsequent Facebook post, she referred to the killings of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were shot dead recently in their home near the University of North Carolina, where Mr Barakat was studying dentistry.
Police charged Craig Hicks, a neighbor of the students, with the murders. The BBC reported on how Hicks’ Facebook profile included a photo entitled “Atheists for Equality”. He also regularly posted quotes critical of religion. However, a parking dispute was also reported to be linked to the shootings.
UT Arlington has entered a competition to win a $200,000 prize to improve campus security. University spokeswoman Sullivan was reported in the Dallas Morning News as revealing the school entered the Stanley Security contest hoping to better equip its police force.
Universities have come under scrutiny in recent months after allegations of rapes and other attacks were highlighted. However, a high profile feature about an alleged 2012 gang rape at the University of Virginia in Rolling Stone magazine, was later widely discredited.
The fact alleged crimes on campuses often attract more publicity than crimes off campus, means it’s important to hire an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney if you are accused with a crime at a college or a university.