Whenever I find myself outside of my dorm building, Park Ave., after 9 p.m, I wonder what was so important to keep me out past 9. Not because I like to go to bed at 9 or anything along those lines. It is simply because, whenever I get to Park Ave. after 9 p.m, I have to drag myself around to the front to let myself in. Doesn’t sound so bad, except that it is bloody freezing out at the moment. Not to mention the fact that it is just simply inconvenient. And, well, nobody likes to be inconvenienced.
When I had first found out that the side doors of Park Ave. could not be used as an entrance after 9 p.m I was a little confused. I had a feeling that it was some delusional attempt at deterring vandalism and upping student safety. When I was able to contact residence life about the subject, I found that while I wasn’t too far off in my guesses, my hypothesis about their coherency was incorrect.
I played a quick game of phone tag with Residence Life and Public Safety and was able to talk to the Residence Life Director Eric Range about the Park Ave. side doors. What I found out was that originally there was only one entrance into Park Ave., the front entrance. Once the school had decided to utilize card access, Residence Life, in conjunction with Public Safety, had decided to allow access to the side doors during the day.
During a trial period entrance through the side doors was available until Midnight, but it was found there was a rise of unwanted activities, such as people from other buildings bringing unwanted items into Park Ave. So it was decided that when the Resident Assistants began their shifts in the front entrance booth at 9 p.m the side doors would no longer be available as an entrance.
The idea is that it is better to be able to see all who are coming in and out of the building. That being aware that you are being watched as you enter a building will deter you from deviant behavior. I have to disagree with this. I think that cameras could do the trick, especially because you never know who is on the other end of a camera’s signal. Walking through the front door, the only person you come across could quite possibly be a friend who is willing to look the other way. And regardless of who is watching you when you enter, no one continues to watch you through the rest of your excursion through the building.
And anyway, people can prop the doors to allow entrance for whomever. They can also let their friends in the side doors. If entrance through the side doors was at the very least extended for an hour or so, there would be less of a propping problem.
Though vandalism is historically high in Park Ave., the recent decline is being credited more to the switch of card swipes and the addition of cameras to the buildings than to the filtering of students through the front entrance. So that sort of debunks my “deterring vandalism” theory.
I will actually have to say that overall I am less annoyed with the fact that the side doors of Park Ave. are inconveniently inaccessible for entrance after 9 p.m than I am with the idea that we need to be babysat. Now, that is a little difficult to swallow.
Student Voice Contributor