Editorial: A need for student safety

Students are supposed to feel secure on campus, but recent events have made us question our safety.

In early November, a shot was fired on the West campus in front of a group of students playing volleyball. In October, ASU Police arrested three people for stealing iPhones right out of the hands of students on the Tempe campus. These events were out of the University’s control. But now, The State Press has learned that uninvited strangers have been entering dorms on the Tempe campus that no longer have front desk personnel monitoring the entrances.

It’s the first question out of a parent’s mouth, especially if that parent is moving his or her kid across the country for college: Is this campus safe?

This semester, ASU Residential Life removed 24-hour front desk service at a handful of dorms on the Tempe campus. Students living in these dorms must now call or visit desks in nearby buildings for assistance.

Residential Life officials claim they closed the desks in order to “streamline” service. Others suspect that the department’s true motivation is to cut costs.

Across the country, we hear horror stories of dorm room break-ins. In August, three men were charged with burglary after they broke into dorm rooms at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while residents were sleeping. Dorms across the country employ the same first-defense safety precautions as ASU residential halls: ID-activated door locks.

As we’ve learned over the past three months, those locks are not enough. Without front-desk attendants, strangers only need to wait for a student to open the door and walk inside before following him or her into the building. Front-desk attendants are our second defense against invaders. They are the human gatekeepers trained to recognize suspicious behavior.

Fortunately, the student voices at Palo Verde West and Palo Verde East have been heard.

ASU will reinstate evening front desk positions at both residential halls starting no later than January.

Times are tough, and cuts are going to be made. It’s a fact and has to be dealt with judiciously, even if they are difficult decisions. But safety is at the top tier of importance for students, and anything that might compromise that should be at least questioned, and at most rejected.

It still begs the question, is saving resources worth more than student safety?

 

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