UofM Announces Critical Safety Enhancements Ahead of ‘Finish Liza’s Run’ on Sept. 1 

August 31, 2023 — Today, the University of Memphis is announcing the first phase of safety enhancements stemming from a $5 million appropriation by the Tennessee General Assembly to secure the campus and surrounding areas.  

“Our Memphis community is facing a painful anniversary as we honor the life of Eliza Fletcher this week,” said UofM President Dr. Bill Hardgrave. “As Memphians gather to ‘Finish Liza’s Run,’ we are committed to working together to ensure our campus and surrounding areas contribute to a safer Memphis.”   

At the start of the new fiscal year in July, the University received $5 million in state funding to support a series of safety improvements focused on deterring and preventing criminal activity.  Phase one enhancements are consistent with the President’s Ascend Strategic Plan goal to provide “second-to-none safety and security” and include: 

  • Increasing perimeter fencing and parking lot access controls 
  • Increasing LED lighting in parking lots and surrounding facilities  
  • Increasing and replacing mobile trailer units and patrol vehicles for greater presence on campus  
  • Increasing cameras and 24/7 monitoring around parking lots, buildings and campus entrances/exits 
  • Improving a comprehensive notification system to ensure emergency alerts reach all members of the campus community quickly  

Members of the Tiger community and visitors to campus are encouraged to sign up for safety alerts by texting TIGERNATION to 888777. For the last decade, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has frequently ranked the University of Memphis as the safest large campus in the state. Phase one investments reflect ongoing efforts by the University to ensure a growing campus population has the resources to match.

“We are grateful to Gov. Lee and members of the General Assembly for their investment in proven measures that not only help our campus to feel safe but also improve overall outcomes,” said Hardgrave. “We have a large, urban campus and believe these investments ensure that students, faculty, and visitors are in a secure environment."

More information on campus safety is available here. Members of the Tennessee General Assembly weighed in on the importance of phase one safety investments to campus: 

Sen. Brent Taylor (R - District 31): “I was proud to work alongside Gov. Lee and my legislative colleagues to obtain this investment in safety and security for the University of Memphis. I look forward to seeing the campus safety enhancements in the coming months.” 

Rep. John Gillespie (R - District 97): “Liza Fletcher was a shining light in our community whose absence continues to be felt to this day. No one, regardless of who they are or where they live, should have to fear for their safety when they leave their home. That is why I was proud to help secure these state funds to support the University of Memphis and its continued efforts to improve public safety. We must do all that we can to protect our great city from these senseless crimes.” 

Rep. Torrey Harris (D - District 91): “Keeping the area around the UofM campus and all of Tennessee’s colleges and universities safe and secure has been tremendously important to the legislature this year. In addition to the $5 million the university received in July, lawmakers just passed an additional $30 million in school safety grants for Tennessee public and private institutions. While there is still much work to be done across the state to keep Tennesseans safe, securing our institutes of higher learning and the communities that surround them is one of the items that remains one of our highest priorities.” 

Chairman Mark White (R - District 83): “I am very grateful to the University of Memphis in taking positive steps to address this tragedy and honor the life of Eliza. Community safety is our number one priority. Every citizen of this community should feel safe and have the ability to enjoy a rich quality of life without fear. My prayers continue to be with the family of Eliza as they try to cope with this senseless and tragic loss.”