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Students react to new lockout policy

Published: October 20, 2006
Section: News


It seemed like a common scene all over first-year halls around campus. A scantily-clad, red-faced first-year eagerly awaits outside his dormitory door as the smiling officer approaches. The first-year has been locked out of his room and as he shivers in his towel and flip-flops, the officer smiles with a sense of superiority as he jokes with the victim and finally opens the door.

These incidents, however, have become even rarer as a new policy was set into place by the Brandeis Police that mandates the opening of locked out dormitory doors only in the case of a dire emergency. This, in essence, eliminates the former, forgiving policy, and institutes an initiative that makes it very difficult for freshmen encountering these situations.

The Office of Public Safety reported that it had incidents of 1,449 residential lockouts during the 2005-2006 academic year. It also noted that this does not include the number of people who went to Residence Life instead of the Brandeis Police to get their doors opened. Public safety has changed its former policy of dispatching officers to the dormitories in favor of a policy that mandates that the student actually come to dispatch to request assistance.

Lieutenant Bette Reilly explained the new procedure. We decided to implement a policy that was similar to Residence Life stated Lieutenant Reilly where a student must come to the Police dispatch center to report that they are locked out. The hope is that a student will carry their keys with them. It was furthermore stated that this was implemented to, among other things, decrease the number of repeat lockouts by students.

Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan cited safety concerns and trying to curtail repeat incidents as the main motivation for the policy. We could be in an emergency situation said Callahan and we dont want to be put in the situation where we have to deal with a lockout. Callahan further citied that an attempt to limit the number of incidents is another main reason for the policy implementation. We want to provide education to the studentsto prevent future lockouts.

Daniel Chavez 10, a victim of the new policy, couldnt wait for his roommate to return with the keys one day, and had to seek other alternatives. I had to walk to Usdan in my boxers to go to the Residence Life office, he said. Chavez further stated that once there, he was able to retrieve a key and unlock his dormitory door. This is the only alternative other than walking the longer distance to reach Public Safety to request assistance.

Disdain about the recent policy alteration reaches many portions of the student body. Junior Adi Shmuel 08 recounted the problems that the new policy would create. Along with conveying her agitation, Shmuel went onto explain that had the policy been enacted earlier she would have had to walk to public safety a lot in a towel during my freshmen year.

It seems like Brandeis students will have to be more careful with their keys. This entails taking the keys with them to the bathroom, keeping them on their presence at all times, and following other procedures to make sure that lock-outs never occur. Lest they follow these guidelines and others, even more humiliating consequence can occur as it has become more difficult to remedy the situation of the common place lockout.