New carding policy at Cougar Village a step forward in better campus security
It was just last semester that six students were held at gunpoint in Law Residence Hall. Three male suspects held up several students, demanded their wallets and cell phones, then made their way out through an emergency exit door.
However, this was not the only crime that was committed at the University last fall. A string of robberies occurred on campus last semester, and it seemed like there were emails coming in every other day regarding some new safety concern.
It’s difficult to feel safe on a campus where there seems to be little to no security put in place. The resident advisers in Cougar Village I certainly understood that there would have to be some changes made to make its residents feel a safer.
Recently, the staff of CVI put a new procedure into place that forces every student to swipe their card before gaining entry into the building. The procedure is simple: a new makeshift desk has been set up at the entrance of CV1, where a resident assistant or desk assistant can check to make sure that every person who is attempting to enter the building has swiped their card and been allowed entry by the system.
The hope of this new system is to deter “tailgaters” from entering the building and to ensure that only residents and guests of residents are allowed inside of CVI. This new security checkpoint was surprising to many students living in the dorm.
“People were stunned by it at first,” said Winston Savice, an RA for CVI.
Elisha Diaz, a computer information systems freshman who lives in Moody Towers questions the validity of the entire system put into place.
“If I really wanted to get into CVI, I could find a card and use it. I could just swipe myself in,” Diaz said.
Diaz also sparked a debate on the Class of 2017 Facebook page, where many students weighed in on whether the new way of checking residents truly makes them feel safer.
Regardless, it seems that many students are already beginning to adapt to the new policy.
“It’s starting to make an impact. Everyone is starting to line up at the card reader (to swipe their card),” Savice said.
Don Yackley, the executive director for Student Housing and Residential Life, also comments that this new system is not that revolutionary.
“This practice for residents to use their ID card to enter into the residential building is not new,” Yackley said. “It is a new approach to position our student staff members at the main entrance to have increased visibility and allow them to better support our existing building security.”
Yackley also said that it is important to note that this new system is currently being piloted, and could perhaps change.
Of course, this system of security is not completely perfect; no system ever is. However, this new protocol has the potential to deter people who would desire to enter the building and cause harm. As for the people who reject the validity of this new system, Savice said they must simply adapt and understand.
“I say this for (residents) … They’re going to have to just suck it up. It’s for our safety; it’s for their safety,” Savice said. “They’re going to keep complaining until there’s a robbery in CVI, and then it’s going to be like ‘oh, why didn’t they have that system implemented?’”
There are many reasons that this new system is not perfect. However, there will always be a reason to deny change on the basis that its probable impact is small.
However, it’s better to try something and have it fail than to simply stand by and claim that everything is fine the way it currently is. There are many safety concerns around the University, and the more steps we take toward creating a safer environment, the better.
The old saying is true, UH: It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Opinion columnist Carolina Treviño is an advertising freshman and may be reached at [email protected].