One way in for residents

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 11:18 AM

NEWS_RHOexitsFrom now on, the double doors in the front entrance and the side stairwells of Resident Hall One will be used as emergency exits.

The building’s increased issues with uninvited guests initiated the question of safety.

This change, said to be permanent for the foreseeable future, is now being enforced with the installation of alarms, which will activate whenever the front entrance and stairwell doors are open.

Many students said that they weren’t told about the change, including those who left for the summer.

“I was informed only because I was here during the summer,” said Rose Joseph, a sixth-floor resident. “I had noticed that they locked it off, [so] I asked one of the administrators. He said that they would not be opening them back up during the fall.”

But USFSP Assistant Director of Housing Heather Klisanin said that students were informed by email at the end of the spring semester and again at the beginning of the summer semester.

“We did try to make sure that students were aware of what was happening as we were moving forward. But this is just one piece of a bigger campus project,” Klisanin said. “It is all about campus initiatives. I’ve had less concerns from people about people in the building that don’t belong here.”

Parking garage cameras and more lighting in the RHO courtyard are other possibilities.

The ongoing project to ensure campus safety — a response to the agenda set by the federal government for all universities — was developed by a campus committee comprising USFSP campus police and the dean of students.

Although safety cannot be guaranteed, Klisanin wants students to understand the reason for the changes.

“It’s not here to cause any problems or to make things harder for anyone,” Klisanin said. “We’re definitely here to try and make sure everyone has a good experience, but I have to think bigger picture and safety for everyone”.

Students who live elsewhere probably won’t notice the change, but RHO residents have. Justin Matava, a fourth-floor resident, thinks it’s a hassle.

“I don’t feel like it made a difference,” he said. “Not for security reasons, I don’t feel any more secure. I just don’t like walking around.”

Matthew Galiano, a sixth-floor resident, shares Matava’s disapproval.

“It makes me feel more restricted because there is only one way to go out and it’s crowded; the elevators are more crowded,” Galiano said. “Plus everyone now knows that’s the way to get in.”

“I can see the level of safety that it’s increased, but ultimately the cost to benefit is not equally balanced,” said Stuart Penoff, a seventh-floor resident. “We’re giving up more convenience than we’re getting in safety.”

There are some, however, who are grateful for the changes.

“It makes you feel a little bit safer that at least they’re thinking about the safety and they’re trying pretty hard to make things different, so that things can be safer,” said Allison Vilardi, a fifth-floor resident.

Nora Khatcherian, Vilardi’s roommate, agrees.

“What price do we have to pay for our security?” Khatcherian said. “We have to walk. Is it convenience or is it security that’s more important to the student body?”