New ResLife door security policy introduced

Policy restricts access to living areas of residence halls at all times.
As part of a new Residential Life policy, students need to swipe their student ID at the entrance of each residence hall. Starting this semester, access to the living space of every residence hall was restricted 24/7. Maneater File Photo

All residence halls will now have restricted access at all times, according to the newly amended campus policy announced Dec. 13 by the Department of Residential Life.

“While we recognize the minor inconvenience to students, it is in the students’ best interest we change the existing policy to enhance the safe and secure environment we currently provide,” Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said.

Minor said the input of several organizations was taken into consideration before arriving at this decision. The Residence Halls Association, which represents all students who live in residence halls, was consulted. The MU Police Department also provided full backing of this decision.

“(This set of changes) also follows the natural evolution of changes to security trends we all experience in our day-to-day lives,” Minor said.

Residential Life also turned to research to see how other universities handle these security issues in Missouri and across the country.

“We chose to ‘up the safe factor’ of our students, as many other educational institutions have,” Minor said.

Ten of the residence halls on campus already have restricted access.

In the halls with restricted access, doors to each building’s living areas are locked permanently and only residents can gain access with their ID cards. Non-residents are permitted access to the desk, classrooms and dining facilities, while a staff member is on duty at the front desk. The remaining exterior doors are locked around the clock, according to a Residential Life news release.

The 11 residence halls affected by the new policy will only undergo minor changes, according to the news release. Instead of the main entrance doors being open during the day while staff members are at the front desks, the doors will always be locked. This is to ensure that no strangers are able to wander into the residence halls.

“Students in these 11 halls were previously able to vote for a 24/7 locking procedure if they wished to,” Minor said.

But now, he said, the decision has been taken out of their hands.

Freshman Mark Boyd, who lives in Hatch Hall, said he is not sure whether these changes will prevent all strangers from entering residence halls, but he said he appreciates what the Department of Residential Life is doing.

“I feel safe because I watch my surroundings,” he said. “Either way, someone will be able to get in. I’m pretty sure strangers get in all the time.”

Freshman Brian Lambert, who lives in Hudson Hall, said he is concerned this new policy will inconvenience residents.

“I think this will be effective to keep strangers out, but (it) might be a nuisance to have to swipe three times to get to our rooms,” he said.

There are signs posted within each residence hall recommending that students not let others in when they are entering through main entrances, unless they are certain the student lives there.

“If a person looks out of place, I’m not going to let them in,” Lambert said.

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