Dorms to close early as security measure
Wednesday September 12, 2001
Residence halls implement heightened security policy, areas for students to discuss attacks
For the next few days, all campus residence halls will be locked several hours earlier than usual in an effort to increase campus security after yesterday's terrorist attacks, Residence Life officials said.
Quiet rooms were also set up last night in most residence halls to help students deal with emotions triggered by the attacks.
Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, met yesterday with other members of Residence Life and the Residence Hall Association to discuss measures the university can take to help students deal with concerns regarding the attacks.
"I know a lot of people are frightened," he said. "A physical threat on this campus is infinitesimally small, but (Residence Life) wanted to make sure we were in a position to help out."
Residence Life implemented the quiet rooms to provide students with a place to talk with other students and resident assistants about their concerns, an idea which many students welcomed in light of the magnitude of the attacks.
"Yesterday I was worried about my homework," said Deborah Harris, a secondary education sophomore. "Something like this really knocks you right back on your behind. It reminds you of what's really important."
The rooms will also accommodate students who are more comfortable expressing their feelings in writing.
Residence Life will also set up televisions in dorms without lounges, a situation that resulted when lounges were converted to dorm rooms due to the housing crunch. Van Arsdel said though Residence Life is plagued by space issues, the organization is attempting to identify available spaces for the televisions and quiet rooms in as many residence halls as possible.
He said he believes it is important to provide students living in residence halls with televisions so they can keep up with developments in the news.
Residence Life is also taking other measures to make students feel secure. All residence halls locked their doors at 7 p.m., several hours earlier than usual. Van Arsdel said Residence Life will continue to do so for as long as is necessary.
All residence hall directors and resident assistants have been put on alert and are working full-time to ensure the security of students living in residence halls.
"Our staff having an (escalated) presence in the halls (will) make the students feel safer," Van Arsdel said.
He also said that while directors and RAs typically rotate shifts, all staff will be on duty at all times for the next few days.
But for some students, safety in the residence halls is secondary to the well-being of the country.
"I feel safe here," Harris said. "I don't think they're looking to bomb freshmen. But I'm also not na•ve·everyone in the country could be at risk."