University Begins New Security Policy

Students might find it harder to get into their residence halls this semester as new security changes sweep across the campus. The changes, include making only two doors per residential hall open for entry, have taken effect immediately. “The new plan has been implemented to limit access to the buildings, create consistency while identifying complex needs,” said Assistant Director of Residential Life Kristen Kazmerak. Other changes that are in the works for the semester are installing prop alarms on all doors now labeled “exit only” throughout campus. “This will help us monitor propped doors, which will help stop non-affiliates from getting in [the dorms],” said Kazmerak. The Department is not sure how exactly the prop alarms will work, because they are waiting for proposals from different contractors, which will determine how exactly the system will be set up. “They could be something as simple as a quick alarm letting you know something is proppedor something as intricate as needing a key to turn off the alarm,” said Kazmerak. Other plans in the works are utilizing the Catcard swipe system for entry and exit into the building, a security guard for campuses, along with other plans. These, like the prop alarms, are subject to proposals from contractors. The new security plan, according to Kazmerak and others in the department, has been a long time coming. “It’s been a gradual plan,” said Kazmerak. “But after the events of last semester, and even after the increase in security in the past few years, this plan needed to be brought to the next phase. “We couldn’t wait. We didn’t want this activity on campus to turn into something even worse, like a mortality.” Complex Coordinator AnnMarie Peavey believes it not just either the coming of the plan or the events of this past semester that has led to the new changes. “Naturally, living in a post 9/11 culture, we need to be more secure,” said Peavey. “We had some pretty intensified situations on campus last semester, and I think something needed to be done. “We’re a little behind the times.” One R.A. feels that we are very far behind all other schools in security, and even the measures we are putting in barely bring us up to their level. Others feel that these measures are a good idea. “As an RA perspective I feel that the new security measures are needed,” said Keith Upton, an Resident Assistant in Jeanne Mance. “With the current influx of break-ins and crime-related incidents with in the residents halls something needed to be done. “If you look at surrounding colleges and universities this protocol is already instituted. “Whenever I visit a friend at Umass Amherst, or Springfield College they require to see an ID and for me to be signed in. “There are also only 2 points of entry/exit besides emergency exits. “For the most part, you only have to walk an extra 50 feet or so. “I don’t think it will be the end of the world. I think this will add to our safety within our residence halls as a whole when the plan is fully instituted and followed by all students.” Another R.A., sophomore Kat Coughlan, agrees that the changes will be positive overall. “I think that the security changes provide fewer chances for crimes of opportunity; however residents still need to take personal responsibility for both themselves and their belongings,” said Coughlan. “Hopefully the inconvenience that the changes might cause will be outweighed by the benefits of increased security in the residence halls.” Peavey believes that while making changes to facilities is open, it also will take a change from students. “We could change the doors, the windows, but it won’t help until students make a change,” said Peavey. “It will help change the residential culture around here.”