SGA proposes changes in security policy in Norsworthy and Centennial Halls

This week, the Student Government Association (SGA) submitted a proposal to John Stafford, director of Residential and Community Development (ResLife), aiming to do away with the nightly security desks at Centennial and Norsworthy Halls and instead institute 24-hour swipe access to the residence halls.

Under the proposal, the front doors would stay locked and students living in the buildings would have to swipe their ID cards to unlock them, eliminating the need for nightly security desks and signing in guests after 8 p.m.

The proposal submitted to ResLife includes the results of a survey of 215 residents of Centennial and Norsworthy. The survey shows overwhelming support for the change – 171 of the 215 residents surveyed said they would be in favor of implementing 24-hour swipe.

Currently, security in Centennial and Norsworthy is handled the same way as in the other residence halls on campus – keys are checked by Hall Security Workers (HSWs) after 8 p.m. and guests entering the building must be signed in by residents. After midnight, students must swipe their ID cards to unlock the front door, but must still show their keys before entering.

The proposed change would implement security used in townhouses and which will be used the new apartments, allowing for students to swipe their ID cards to unlock their front door 24 hours a day and does not include the additional security measures.

Most students living in Centennial and Norsworthy had signed up to live in the apartments, but got relocated when they were not finished in time.

“They didn’t get into the housing they had originally requested, so this is just a nice way of giving them a little more independence,” Annelise Catanzaro, SGA student trustee, said.

Catanzaro, who created the proposal, said she got the idea since she lives in Norsworthy. She said it is a hassle to constantly sign in her friends who live in Centennial and vice-versa.

“All the way through the apartments situation we’ve been sensitive to the fact that we want to offer a good experience, but we can’t be breaking policy,” Stafford said, though admitted ResLife was receptive to the proposal. “If we break it for them we have to be able to break it for 3,500 people who live here.”

The idea of changing security in Centennial was first proposed to ResLife about a month ago, Stafford said. At that time ResLife felt more information on the subject was needed and sent the request back with instructions to collect more data.

Stafford also said that since the students in both Centennial and Norsworthy are facing the same situations, he would want Norsworthy to be included in the planning too.

“We need to look at this for both if we’re going to look at this for either,” Stafford said. “You can’t just change a policy with a snap of your fingers. There are a lot of domino effects.”

One repercussion that drew a lot of student concern was over the jobs of the HSWs in the buildings. The proposal includes a request to have these students moved to other buildings, or to have them moved to office assistant (OA) positions.

Students who gave input about the proposed changes supported having OAs in the hall office from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. in case of lockouts or emergencies.

Stafford said student workers would be a definite consideration when making a decision. “We’re not going to cut someone’s job out from under them,” he said, adding that he does not foresee anyone losing his or her job.

Jasmine Charlon, junior nursing major said she supports the change, but is skeptical of Stafford’s prediction of no job loss. “How many OAs are we going to have?” she asked. “I really don’t think that’s going to work. Until I see it, I don’t know if I believe it.”

Security of the building has also been brought into question. Without a security desk at night, residents would be able to bring as many guests as they want into the building without having to sign them in.

“It’s more responsibility on the residents to choose who they allow in and who they don’t,” Catanzaro said. “We would have had the responsibility if we were in Townhouses or if we were in the apartments.”

“It’s pretty safe here,” Rabia Mallick, junior biomedical engineering major who supports the proposal, said. “No one really comes in and does anything. If there were more people or if there were frequent crimes, I’d be more concerned.”

Other students don’t think it is right to compare the housing they requested to the housing they actually received.

“I don’t agree with it,” Bree-L Tweedle, junior elementary education and sociology major, said. “I feel that these buildings are different than the apartments would be. They require more security.”

“Townhouses are more confined; you can’t even bring that many people in if you wanted to,” Charlon said, echoing Tweedle’s concerns. “Here it’s a lot bigger. I would hope residents would be mature enough to monitor how many people they bring into the building.”

Although last week, a meeting between Catanzaro and Stafford to discuss the proposal was postponed, both hope to meet soon in order to move the project along.