By Melanie Spina
The side door policies for the residence halls on campus have always been a controversial issue for students who dorm. Students are not allowed to enter or exit through them between 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. Many simply don’t understand the rules of not being able to use the side doors at night, and resident assistants find themselves constantly having to make sure their residents understand that these rules are for safety purposes and should be followed.
According to Suffolk Hall RA Kirsten Manno, a sophomore Math major, Brookville Hall already has alarms on each side door that will take a picture of the front and back of the person, and the rest of the residence halls will be getting this new system as well. There will also be an announcement to alert the person that they are exiting through an unauthorized door, and that the authorities are being notified. “A person that breaks the rules will have to pay a $50 fee for the first incident; if it happens again the fee will be more expensive,” Manno said.
“I personally think adding this [measure] is a good idea, because it makes it a little bit safer for all of the residents,” Manno said. “The RA’s will actually know when people are going out through the side doors and they can have more control over the situation.”
As an RA, Manno thinks that less people will use the side doors when they are not allowed to, as not to incur the fine. “It really depends, because some people are not going to care and just keep doing it, where other people are actually not going to want to pay that fee, and hopefully they’ll stop,” he said.
Brookville is the first dorm on campus to have the new alarm system installed, mainly because it was more of a problem in that building than in the rest. “A lot of people complain that the entrance for Brookville is on the opposite side, and they also complain about when it’s cold outside, they have to walk all the way around from the parking lot to the entrance,” said Brookville RA Vicky Eichborn, a junior Forensic Science major. “They feel it’s an inconvenience, whereas they don’t realize the safety measure that it’s putting in.”
Eichborn claims that since the installation of the alarms in Brookville, the use of the side doors has actually decreased drastically.
“There are far fewer people coming in, which was the bigger issue, and even less people going out of them,” Eichborn said. “There are definitely still people who use them regardless, but I think it’s going to improve the overall safety of the buildings in general.”
It is important in case of emergencies to know who is in the building and who isn’t, so people should be signing all of their guests in, instead of having them enter through the side doors.
Post Hall resident Reyna Romero, a sophomore Early Childhood Education major, understands the safety precautions, but doesn’t think that this new alarm system is necessarily the best option to fix the problem. “I feel like it’s a good idea, and it will make life easier for RA’s and desk attendants because part of their job is to make sure nobody uses the side doors after hours,” Romero said. “But honestly when it’s snowing and the weather is bad, I feel like people should be allowed to leave [through] the side doors.”
Although it may sound like students are just lazy or don’t understand the policies, Romero claims that she understands why this was done, but she thinks there are better ways to go about solving the issue. “They should just make all the side doors [swipe-able]; the same swipe you have to
use to get in[to] the front door should be on all side doors,” said Romero. “This way, if you don’t live in the building, you can’t get in, and it would be just as safe.”
This might sound like the perfect solution, but it might not be the practical one, since students would still be able to let people in without signing them in, which is one of the main safety issues. But it is an
interesting idea, and may be a little less drastic than having an alarm and a camera that takes pictures of you. I think that having to swipe your card to get into the side doors could be like meeting students half way, but I am not sure if the students are willing to take their part in the situation of letting in guests without signing them in.