Locked Out and Pissed Off

I returned from winter break to find a notice in my mailbox announcing a new door policy that was to be implemented campus-wide. The notice from The Department of Residential Life pronounced that all residence hall doors would remain locked, with the exception of the two main entrances in each complex, disallowing admittance or exit twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The new policy is “truly for the students safety,” was the comment made by Diane Figari, Assistant Director for Facilities in the Department of Residential Life, upon being questioned about the new policy. Apparently, the policy was prompted by the “Tupper incident” on November 6, 2002 when a still unidentified suspect who fled the scene of the crime, robbed a student on Tupper 4. According to Figari, the door lock policy is an attempt on behalf of the University to reduce the number of access points into each building and therefore reduce the number of doors that are being propped open. But because the students who live in these buildings can no longer gain access “people are propping the doors making the dorms less safe than they were before the door lock policy was enforced” said Marissa Nack, a member of the class of 2006. Some students have also complained about the vast inconvenience that the new policy poses. Students are being forced to walk father to reach the accessible doors, which can pose a threat, especially to female students, late at night in unlit areas. Other students however, believe that UVM’s security policies are lax in comparison to those at other colleges and universities. Who, may we ask, is responsible for putting this policy into effect? Well, according to Mike Gonzalez, Trades Manager at UVM’s Physical Plant and the person obligated to physically change the locks; “Residential Life has recently reviewed security issues on campus at the direction of Dan Fogel, and a nationally picked committee,” and determined to put the policy into effect. So, how are students to be effected by this new policy? Residential Life has already installed card swipe devices in several complexes on campus and has also attempted to arm the forbidden doors that will now act solely for emergency exit, with alarm systems that will sound only locally when set off. However, because the alarms have been tampered with already in such complexes as CBW, Residential Life has put the entire plan on hold. However, Figari did state that “everything will be on-line, ready to go when the students come back in the fall.”