NU OKs Safety Measures

Amanda Palleschi

By Amanda PalleschiThe Daily Northwestern

University officials decided Tuesday to implement several new security measures in campus residence halls, such as 24-hour alarms on side exits, full-time community service officers that would replace student hall monitors and closed-circuit television cameras.

The Campus Safety Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from several student groups, met Tuesday to review the dorm assessment report compiled by Aegis Security over the past few months and decide on new safety measures. The study was conducted in response to the series of robberies and dorm break-ins during the 2005-06 school year.

Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Eugene Sunshine said there is not yet a timetable or specific plan to implement the measures, but the 24-hour alarms in residence halls are a top priority and will be implemented “as fast as is practical.”

All residence hall doors except the main door will be alarmed 24 hours a day. Sunshine said the university will install the alarms on an “incremental basis” and communicate closely with facilities management and the students in the residence halls before making the change.

“It will essentially replicate what’s in place now from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., it would just … extend that now for a full day, ” Sunshine said.

The advisory committee also decided to bring in full-time community service officers from the University Police department to monitor residence hall lobbies in lieu of the security monitors now on duty in the evenings.

“If (a dorm) does not have a community service officer, we probably would have at the very least a closed-circuit camera,” Sunshine said. “In some instances, there may be both.”

Vice President of Student Affairs William Banis said training the community service officers to monitor residence halls full-time will take time and work-study security monitoring jobs are secure for this academic year.

“The process will be incremental and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Banis said. “All of our students will be guaranteed employment this year, even if we have to find other employment for them in residential life.”

Associated Student Government President Jay Schumacher said that the real challenge would come from implementing the recommendations.

“Students might find some of them to be positive, and some they might take issue with,” the Communication senior said, mentioning the 24-hour door alarms. “There’s still a lot of discussion that needs to be had about what’s going on.”

The Daily’s Libby Nelson contributed to this report. Reach Amanda Palleschi at [email protected]