Recently, one of our own editors at The Leaders returned to her dorm to find some of her belongings stolen. Last semester, an out of state man broke into a dorm, waited in the bathroom overnight and threatened a student.
Elmhurst is a relatively safe campus, but these breakings are becoming increasingly common and they seem to have a trend to them—students being too nice and opening doors for people.
While everyone should be smarter and aware of their surroundings, it is simply not sustainable and safe to rely on students to be proactive as the main security protocol for residence halls.
Student possessions, and possibly there safety is being threatened by inadequate dorm security policy and that needs to change.
The fact that there is no record of who comes and goes in a building, and no way of knowing whether or not a person is a resident or not.
Security should consider having a representative, whether it be a hall coordinator, R.A., or even an officer stationed at the front of every hall that checks the I.D.’s of those who enter, and requires that non-residents sign in and out of the building.
Protocols like this are common among other colleges and require little resources, just one attentive figure in each dorm hall.
Currently, security’s best defense against people who do not belong in dorms coming into dorms is a reminder to students that they shouldn’t let strangers in. It is not their fault that this defense is flimsy, but something needs to be done to remedy it.
There would be difficult obstacles to overcome when implementing a check in system, where to place a monitor in more cramped or back entrances.
The other difficulty would be the traffic of students coming in and out of the buildings that would now need to take time to show ID’s. However, many large schools such as Depaul University which has over eight times as many students as EC use these exact security practices and more, such as keeping the ID’s of nonresidents with the security guard and only allowing up to two guests per resident.
One might say that there are already protocols in place for our protection, such as only 2 guests per resident or a 3 night maximum for overnight guests. This is good, but the only way to enforce these rules is a very attentive R.A. who already has other responsibilities or a student willing to tell on their peers.
Several years ago, The Leader conducted a test with a reporter who did not live on campus to see if he could gain access into any residence life on campus. He got access to every dorm room with ease simply by asking to be let in.
We now know that there could be man waiting in a residence hall bathroom overnight. We no longer have an excuse to think we are safe because we are not, and solutions need to be explored, and implemented before it is too late.