Enhanced Campus Security?

DSCF1239EDITOR’S NOTE:  Ally Janakis is a guest writer for Writing on the Mall.  She is involved with the Media Writing Two class at Marietta College, which has been submitting articles to us.  Her article is the first of many that you will see hit the site.  If you would like to see more like this, just let us know at patrick_h at writingonthemall dot net.

Although we have not progressed to armed guards and watchdogs, Marietta College has made strides in improving security around campus. But are they truly improvements?

The August newsletter sent to students gave an overview of the new security. Parsons Hall, which has been, locked 24/7 for the past two years now also has automatic locks on suite doors and room doors. For Parsons residents living above the first floor entering their room entails swiping their ID card at the door, unlocking their suite door and then unlocking their room door. It also means to use the bathroom in their suite, one must either prop their door or bring their keys.

Junior Jaque Danhires responds negatively to the recent updated security, “I feel protecting the students is very important, but personally as a student who lives in Parsons locking the suite door would have sufficed. I hate going to the bathroom and getting locked out of my room in the middle of the night.”

Another added frustration is that if you lock yourself out more than three times you are fined by Residence Life. Some dorms even require IDs to access the bathroom such as in the Pioneer House.

In all of housing phone lines have been removed and in its place are emergency boxes, which are officially called the Via Radio Emergency Notification Systems, that will alert students if there is any sort of emergency or danger on campus. The College’s reasoning behind it is that the majority of students have cell phones and therefore do not use the landlines. As a trade-off, students now enjoy the benefit of free laundry.

Although free laundry is a compromise no one can truly compete with, is the security truly all that secure? Parsons may have all automatic locks but nothing was done for front suite windows ensuring that people don’t break in through windows. Also, there is an added hassle to accessing buildings.

To enter the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center (DBRC) one must have their ID on them. For Parsons residents who cut through McCoy and the DBRC on cold winter days now must scan their cards not only at Parsons, but also at the DBRC and McCoy. Although one needs an ID card to enter the DBRC, there is no security to gain access to any of the other buildings, which are also open late such as Thomas, the Rickey Science Center, and Andrews Hall.

Senior Steven Flanagan from Frostburg State College swears his school is statistically one of Maryland’s safest schools because of “cameras and the police.” Perhaps Marietta can learn a few things by seeing how other schools enforce stricter safety guidelines.

In all reality it’s probably not possible to fully install a campus-wide security system since Marietta is a small school in a relatively safe town. Junior Anastasia Ault comments on Marietta’s safety by saying, “We need to focus on making freshman housing more secure. As a freshman it’s scary living away from home. Having deadbolts on the door would have made me feel safer.”

Sophomore Sara McDaniel likes the new safety arrangement but, “wishes we had peepholes on our doors or doorbells for suites in Parsons so you will be more aware when there are people there.”

All in all Marietta’s campus is safe and there’s no reason to run out and buy pepper spray and petition the school for 24/7 guards, but do be careful when you are walking around alone.