Dorms impose new security measures in response to cases of unauthorized entries

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Dorms impose new security measures in response to cases of unauthorized entries

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by Olivia Li, Staff Writer

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After two people were caught trespassing in first-year residence halls, San Diego State Housing and Residential Education Administration has responded by implementing new security measures to reduce the possibility for further incidents.

In September, two non-residents trespassed in Tenochca and South Campus Plaza North, getting past the RedID scanner to open the doors and the two attendants checking student’s IDs.

Due to the perceived threat these kinds of incidents pose to students’ safety, in October, permanent podiums to check students’ IDs have been installed in the buildings and stricter rules have been put in place for front desk assistants.

When entering student residence halls, students must present their RedID card with a colored sticker corresponding to that of the building they live in. This practice has become less effective in deterring unauthorized guests as front desk assistants, who are responsible for checking students’ ID cards, are often occupied with additional tasks, such as checking in guests and handing out packages.

In response to this issue, permanent podiums have been installed on the opposite side of the front desks in all the first-year residence halls that will be tasked purely with checking students’ IDs.

Kara Bauer, director of residential education at SDSU, said the key to the issue was separating the two front desk workers so they can focus more adequately on their tasks.

“There has always been a desk assistant and a security monitor, but we have put them at different places so the person at the desk can focus on the guest services, whereas the person at the podium, the security monitor, is really the one who is checking the IDs and watching the doors,” Bauer said. “We want to make sure there is a set of eyes on everyone walking in.”

Along with installing a separate podium opposite the front desk, stricter rules have been imposed on desk assistants and security monitors to reduce distractions.

Previously, front desk assistants were generally allowed to work on homework or use their phones during less busy times of the day. Bauer said the recent safety concerns have forced them to be more strict about this policy.

“Late at night or early in the morning, we might have been more flexible about letting students working at the front desk study, but now, because we really want to make sure their focus is on the safety and security of the building, they aren’t allowed to anymore,” Bauer said.

The addition of a permanent podium and stricter rules for the front desk assistants will contribute to the long list of new security measures, such as stricter rules for checking in guests and resident advisors doing community walks in and around the building every night.

Overall, the new measurements put in place have received praise from residents of the dorms.

Speech, language and hearing sciences freshman Michaela Lee, a resident of Chapultepec, said she is in favor of the changes but believes not much more can be done and incidents like this are bound to happen.

“I think the new system will work well because there will be more than one spot that they’ll check our IDs from,” Lee said.

Business administration freshman Erin Paulin, South Campus Plaza South resident said she thinks it was a good idea to prevent front desk assistants from using their phones on the jobs.

“I think adding another spot to check our RedIDs will be helpful,” Paulin said. “I think also having people who are working at the front desk to not be on their phone will be good too.”

Bauer said, along with the safety measures the university has implemented, students also need to be doing their part.

“We can put all these protocols in place but, if for some reason, someone doesn’t do those things and lets someone behind them, it kind of breaks down all our security protocols,” Bauer said. “It is a shared togetherness to protect students.”

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