New policies prohibit cell phone usage in Campus Recreation locker rooms


Constance Sarantos

Luis Jaime walks into the men’s locker room at Campus Recreation Center East on Feb. 23.

By Therese Pokorny, Contributing Writer

Illinois Campus Recreation is looking to update policy signs to prohibit cell phone usage in locker rooms due to the high volume of verbal warnings given out by security officers.

They have not yet set a date for when the signs, which say “Cell Phone Usage Prohibited in Locker Rooms,” will be put up. However, the process of creating these signs has been going on since early November, said Ryan Johnson, Campus Security Coordinator.

Campus security guards are patrolling the locker rooms until the signs are put into effect.

Patrick Wade, the spokesman for the University of Illinois Police Department, said reprimanding those on their cell phones is a longstanding practice to ensure the safety and comfort of those using the facilities.

“Security guards at Campus Recreation facilities routinely request that patrons refrain from using cell phones in bathrooms and locker rooms,” Wade said in an email. “It would be much too easy for an ill-intentioned person to capture images or video on a cellphone, so we ask that everyone respect the policy as it is in the best interest of everyone’s safety and a common courtesy to those in the area.”

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    Reminders of this “common courtesy” to not record are posted on the walls of every locker room at the University. The signs strictly ban the use of cameras and video recorders, but the signs do not suggest rules regarding cell phones.

    Johnson explained these policies should be updated as technology advances.

    “There is a policy posted on the wall; however, cell phones are multi-functional, and it is possible for a patron to utilize the camera function,” Johnson said. “Locker rooms should be a safe environment for folks to go. [Campus Recreation] is in the process of getting signage to prohibit the use of them in the locker rooms.”

    Campus Recreation has been enforcing these specific cell phone rules since early November when security officials began to issue several verbal warnings due to suspicious cell phone behavior in the locker rooms.

    Johnson said the delay to the updated signs is due to the requirement for these signs to be labeled with the new “Block I” logo.

    Marcus Jackson, Director of Campus Recreation, said the changes will act as a more detailed reminder and that patrons are still free to use cell phones outside the locker room and restroom area.

    Since November of 2017, campus security guards have issued 124 verbal warnings to those using their phones in the campus locker rooms, according to Johnson. These rules have caused some confusion for patrons since phones are not listed in the locker room policies.

    “We’ve had no compliance issues since we began enforcing this policy 4 months ago,” Johnson said in an email. “Initially, we always look to gain voluntary compliance. There are always progressive consequences when any rules and policies are ignored or not followed.”

    Tianxu Zhu, a graduate student in economics, said he wonders what harm they are doing in the locker room while using their phones for music or social media. He suggested there are more beneficial ways of supervising the locker rooms besides patrolling security guards.

    “I’ve been going to CRCE and ARC off and on for over a year,” Zhu said. “Everyone uses their phone in the locker rooms. People are either texting or using social media. I think a more technical way of stopping people using their phones would be to just block the cell service in the locker rooms. No one would use them, and no one would get in trouble.”

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    In a previous version of the article, it says that “citations” were issued by campus security officials. This is incorrect, only verbal warnings have been given out by officers, no written citations. 

    A previous version also said that the University is in the process of getting signage. This is due to a miscommunication between the reporter and Johnson, the University itself is not in the process of getting the signage, the Campus Recreation department is. 

    The Daily Illini regrets these errors.