By Kylie Garrett
Students access their residence halls through the main entrances by swiping their student ID cards. Although the residence halls have side doors, using the side doors as an exit is prohibited between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., and students caught using side doors during those hours are fined. The main entrances are a mandatory access point because cameras are in place to monitor who is walking in and out; there are no cameras at side doors.
Yet, many students prop open side doors for easier access. Because this is a security issue, the Student Government Association is working with public safety and campus life to allow side door card swipe access to residence halls.
Residents of Brookville Hall are the first to experience side door access. As of Monday, March 12, public safety has been monitoring side door entry to Brookville Hall in a pilot program. If the program is successful, side door access may be granted to other residence halls.
Brookville Hall residents received an email on Wednesday, March 21 from Campus Life, which stated: “Dear Brookville Hall Resident, this email is to notify you that all residents of Brookville Hall have access to the Southwest Door, facing the Pratt Recreation Center. Please note residents will have access to enter the door between 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. After 11 p.m. no resident is permitted to enter or exit the side doors, regular side door policies apply and a $50 fine will be issued to any violators [anyone who violates this rule]. This pilot program will be monitored by Public Safety and Residence Life for the next couple of weeks. The purpose of this initiative is to decrease side-door propping which is a safety concern.”
With students propping open side doors throughout the day, anyone can walk into a residence hall undetected, creating a safety issue. The Brookville side door was chosen based on the number of student athletes who dorm in Brookville Hall and to allow them a quicker route to the Pratt Recreation Center, according to Giovanna Domingo, SGA president.
The side door access in Brookville Hall is not permanent. Director of Public Safety Michael Fevola and Dean of Students Michael Berthel agreed to give side door access a try, but only after they installed a camera at the exit. “It is still too early to tell if we will expand the program. We will begin to look at the data and get feedback from the Brookville residents next month before making a decision,” Fevola said.
Kristen Olsen, a senior education major, who lives in Brookville Hall, said side door access is a good idea and it could be safer than before. “I think that we should be able to enter through the side door because even when we didn’t have permission to use them, all students used them anyway and propped them all through the day and night. Now that we can swipe in, the door will not have to be propped and now not just anyone can walk in,” Olsen said.
Other residence halls have side doors as well, but whether or not they gain side door access is up to the success of the pilot program.