Editorial: The key to a safer campus

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

An iCard is a student’s key to campus. With it, you can get into fitness facilities and campus buildings; with a meal plan you need your card to swipe into any public dining hall.

Depending on your housing situation, it will also give you access to some campus dorms.

As a safety measure, iCards only grant access to buildings for residents of each dorm.

Only residents of each dorm can swipe their card to get in, but that does not always stop unattended guests or people without clearance from slipping in.

Most of the time, these unauthorized people are there for harmless reasons — reasons that typically, hopefully, shouldn’t pose security risks or threats to other residents of the building. They might be looking for a friend’s room, want to use the dorm’s library or be in search of the dining hall. In an effort to be polite, students hold doors open for one another and exchange casual greetings.

To avoid such an incident, students are encouraged by the University not to hold the door open for others who don’t have an iCard and be cautious about who they let into University buildings.

It’s tough to know how often this happens, but by watching how students interact with one another, it’s a safe guess to say not very often. Our campus has been fortunate not to have a major incident regarding someone sneaking into a dorm to commit a dangerous crime.
But that might not always be the case.

Although it is smart to be vigilant and question people who seem out of place, it is not necessarily realistic to have students prove their identities to one another when entering the dorms.

Still, for the safety of all students living in University Housing, it is important to find a balance between practicality and general safety.

Students want to believe that everyone on this campus is here for the same reasons: to study and have a better future.

With the exception of theft, we have been lucky to not have a violent crime at a University residence hall.

Vigilant students can help prevent this, but when a criminal is set on committing a crime, a nervous freshman asking for an iCard is not going to be a deterrent.

There may not be a cost effective, reasonable solution to the problem. Campus police and student patrol already have their hands full, and the state’s budget issues don’t leave a lot of room for added hiring or new security systems.

So, while students should make a conscious effort to make their dorms safer, a broader effort would be more effective in stopping serious crime, since there may not be other avenues to prevent these potential threats.