Editorial: Housing security

By TNH Editorial Staff
On April 15, 2014

Student safety on campus is always a concern, whether it's preventing a riot or keeping dorm doors locked at night to fend off peeping-Toms. Among these concerns is the question of access to all dorms with a student's ID card, and Student Senate gathered to discuss the relevance and reason for this year's new policy.

In previous academic years, any student with a UNH ID could swipe their cards and get in to any of the dorms on campus. It was a fun way for friends to surprise-visit their friends, leave messages on whiteboards and not have to wait in the rain for someone to let them in. But last year, UNH Housing changed the policy: Students could only get in to their own dorm rooms. 

This policy should stay in place. 

The goal was to reduce campus crime that was occurring in the dorms. "Based on the conversation during the meeting," Student Body President Bryan Merrill said during the Student Senate meeting, "the metrics thus far did seem to indicate a significant reduction in crime following its implementation."

Some Student Senate members were concerned that the policy takes away from UNH's community feel. Some voiced the opinion that strangers will walk in, anyways

Ideally, an open-door campus would be nice and welcoming. Unfortunately, this just might not be realistic.

Why change the policy if the indication is that current policy has limited vandalism and other such reported offenses?

According to College Board, 89 percent of first-year UNH students live on campus.  Out of all the undergraduate students, 58 percent live on campus. With co-ed housing and on-campus apartments, UNHPD and some residents are worried about crime,w such as substance abuse and sexual assault in the dorms.

Right now, there is no online searchable evidence that the new card swipe policy is lowering crime except for what students were saying in the Student Senate meeting. No statistics were found on the UNHPD website except from years before the new swipe policy was implemented. 

Merrill said they would spend the next year researching how affective the policy is. If it is not affective, Merrill said they would re-look at "the swipe change that came into effect, seeking less restrictive but equally safe alternatives."

Student Senate is fair in reviewing this topic and gathering statistical information in the coming year. But if the numbers indicate the policy is safer as it stands, Student Senate should not even consider risking the safety of dorm residents or their property for the sake of being an open campus. 


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