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Residence hall lock policy scrutinized

13 Feb , 2013  

Campus residence halls may soon be locked 24 hours a day, as some residents have mixed feelings about campus safety following a Jan. 23 gunman hoax. 

Commonwealth Hall, a freshman residence hall, has electric card-swipe locks on the doors. Residence life officials are considering installing the same type of lock on other halls on campus in a move to increase hall security. Photo by Corey Sanchez | The Highland Cavalier

Commonwealth Hall, a freshman residence hall, has electric card-swipe locks on the doors. Residence life officials are considering installing the same type of lock on other halls on campus in a move to increase hall security. Photo by Corey Sanchez | The Highland Cavalier

Commonwealth and Culbertson Halls, the only two residential buildings with electric card swipes, are currently automatically locked at 10 p.m., while other campus housing is manually locked by resident advisers between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., said Director of Residence Life Angie Lemke.

“A lot of students have recommended that we look at changing times for safety,” she said. “We have looked at what other schools are doing … spoken quite a bit with campus police, and the recommendation that we are getting from multiple groups is, for safety, to keep the doors locked 24/7.”

Lemke said the change, if implemented, would require residents to swipe into Commonwealth and Culbertson and key into all other campus housing regardless of the time of day. She said such 24/7 limited access is typical of other college campuses.

Residence life officials are also considering installing electric card swipes in the residence halls that currently use traditional keys, Lemke said.

Some students said they were in favor of such moves.

“I think that’s a good idea,” said freshman biology major Amanda Carthy, a resident of McCraray Hall. “I mean I don’t feel unsafe, but if they do that I’d feel safer … if it prevents someone from being in there that shouldn’t, then it’s a good thing.

Others weren’t so sure.

“I feel like all the doors are safe,” said junior biology major Allyssa Zebrowski. “I feel safe in Martha Randolph [Hall]. It’s usually always locked. I don’t feel like anyone is going to break in or anything.”

Freshman Commonwealth Hall resident Robert Torres said he isn’t sure the changes are needed either.

“I think that’s unnecessary… I don’t think that [it] is really going to protect anyone as much as they want it to … it will just be an annoyance,” Torres said. “I mean, I’ve got into McCraray when the doors were locked because someone just let me in.”

Lemke said she’s aware of that security loophole and encourages students to help maintain the integrity of their residence hall’s security.

“If students are not 100 percent positive that a person lives there they need to not let them in,” she said. “If students see something suspicious [or] if there are doors that are not locking properly, it’s really important to let us … one of the RAs, full-time housing staff or the police know so we can get it repaired immediately.”


One Response

  1. Dru Morgan says:

    I can’t understand why anyone would disagree with a plan to require card swipe access 24 hours a day. It’s the least intrusive security measure they could possibly implement.

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