Residence Halls Take Steps to Ensure Students’ Safety

State is taking precautions in resident halls, Keith Scholars Hall and Dawson Hall.

The front desk should be staffed from 9 a.m. until midnight, according to graduate assistant Jon Milton.

Two resident assistants are on duty every night, and they are required to do three hours of desk duty each, Director of Resident Life Derrien Williams said.

“The doors automatically lock at 6 p.m. every night for Keith Hall; in Dawson, they are already locked with a code,” Milton said.

The codes on the doors in Dawson change every semester, according to Milton.

“Those codes are only as good as the occupants,” said Joseph Oden, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

“After 6 p.m., they check my ID,” Dawson Hall resident Emily Smith said. When students come in and are not recognized, they have to show their student ID at the front desk, Milton said.

“If you go into other universities’ resident halls, they are going to want some form of ID if you’re not a student to differentiate the students from visitors,” Williams said. He said State is trying to get to that level.

“There are always things that could be done better,” Oden said.

At least one student expresses confidence in security. “Yeah, I feel pretty safe and comfortable here,” Grace Oti, resident of Dawson Hall, said.

Dorms have rules for visitation, Williams said.

“They are allowed to have visitors,” Williams said. “They must fill out the guest overnight form. If they don’t, they’re subject to be fined.”

He said residents are supposed to have the form completed within six hours before their guest comes to stay with them, according to Milton.

“As with students in the beginning with anything …, students were a little resistant,” Williams said.

Milton said students were not happy at first showing their cards, but now they comply.

“Overall, yes, I think they’re happy,” Oden said.

“When their parents send them here, they entrust in us that we are going to keep them safe,” Williams said.

“A lot were upset that when we implemented this showing-your-card system and taking their guests IDs,” Milton said.

“There were parents here on campus for homecoming, and they were very happy and receptive that we were even asking for their IDs,” Williams said.

State runs mock fire drills on a regular basis, according to Williams. Major William Porterfield, supervisor of Public Safety. He is in charge of fire drills.

According to Oden, the windows in Dawson Hall do not open, but they can be broken.

“They meet the threshold for breakage,” Oden said.

All fire extinguishers are up to code, according to Williams.

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