Doors to University residence halls will be locked 24 hours a day starting in the near future, University officials said. Students will only be able to gain unaccompanied access to a dorm if they live in that building and use their student ID in the outside card readers.
The move is part of an ongoing discussion around the security of campus buildings, said Associate Dean of Students Bethany Marlowe. She said the University has had concerns about unauthorized people entering buildings.
“Georgetown will be doing what other schools already do,” Marlowe said.
According to Marlowe, student security guards will still check student IDs inside residence halls, but will now serve as a second measure of security. Additionally, student guards have been asked to discontinue the use of laptops and headphones while on duty, said William Tucker, Director of the Department of Public Safety.
Tucker, Marlowe and Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez said that no exact date had been set for the new policy but it would happen “soon.”
Marlowe said the new policy would add to existing security with a minimum of expense. According to Marlowe, an e-mail will go out to students before the policy goes into effect informing them of the policy and telling them to make sure their ID cards are working properly. She said she recognized that students have become used to IDs that don’t work and don’t have to work.
“Security is not always convenient,” Marlowe said. “People’s safety has to take precedence over convenience.”
As part of the security review, Tucker confirmed that the University was considering placing professional guards at the security desks in the residence halls, although that move is only a possibility and not in the process of being carried out.
New South and Copley are difficult areas to lock because the New South cafeteria and Copley formal lounge must be accessible to all students. Tucker said the University is considering other options and locking the buildings may be staggered to give time for a solution.
Nikolaos Chiolos (GRD), a student security guard, said he thought the new system would be marginally better than the old one.
“I think locking the doors is a step in the right direction,” he said. “A lot can be said for combining convenience and safety. Trying this out will help us figure it out.”
Marlowe said the University is in the process of getting feedback from campus groups on the new policy.
“We are looking at every configuration,” she said. “We are trying to think outside the box for a solution [for security] in each building.”