Music students propose new security system for Regenstein

Becky Bowman

School of Music students practicing late one night Fall Quarter in Regenstein Hall of Music discovered a man walking through the building who was unaffiliated with the school.

“He was just walking around, poking his head in practice rooms,” said Josh Cohen, a Music senior. “University Police came and escorted him away.”

This and similar occurences have prompted the School of Music’s Student Advisory Board to work on a proposal that would add a security system to Regenstein and eventually to the Music Administration Building.

The proposal was written in response both to thefts in the building and to the October assault of a Northwestern student that took place on the Lakefill, near Regenstein. The idea was developed in December by members of the board, Senior Associate Dean Fred Hemke and UP Chief Saul Chafin, said advisory board co-chairwoman Jessica Schaeffer.

“The general feeling is that students would like more security,” said Schaeffer, a Music junior.

The advisory board will present its security plan in a forum for Music students Feb. 5.

In addition to easing safety concerns, a security system would give priority to Music students who need to use practice rooms in the buildings, she added. Music students often find non-majors, area high school students and Music alumni using the facilities, she said.

Advisory board members said they hope to implement an electronic system comparable to the Marlok key systems found in dormitories or to a key card system similar to that in place at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, said Cory Hills, co-chairman of the advisory board and a Music junior. Such a system not only would allow Music students to have 24-hour access to the building but also would give students access to faculty studios on the second floor.

Cards or keys could then be issued to groups outside of the school who need to use the building, Schaeffer said. The electronic system would cost less than $8,000, she said, and would protect against some of the problems Music students and faculty have experienced.

The thefts in the building have been minor, including cellular phones and wallets, students said. But students quickly point out the value of instruments found in Regenstein at any given time.

“When the doors are wide open, any person walking around could find millions and millions of dollars worth of instruments,” said Heather Kilborn, a Music graduate student.

The Music buildings also house expensive equipment, said Music Dean Bernard Dobroski. More than $700 of audio equipment was taken from Music Lecturer Kurt Hansen’s office in November.

Students often prop open the doors of Regenstein to let other students into practice rooms after hours and to help alleviate the crowd of people using the rooms during the day, students said. The building is supposed to be locked between midnight and 7 a.m.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Scott Harrison, a Music senior. “It would be nice if we could provide space for everyone in the university. Because this is what we do, we need to have first priority.”