Resident caution important part of security process

By Greg Rivara

NIU residence hall security is not perfect, but officials say they cannot rectify the problems themselves.

NIU President John LaTourette said residence hall security is operating as expected, and is doing the best possible job.

“We don’t see anything more we can do with security,” he said.

Students living in residence halls should alert hall staff members of any suspicious activities. Informing staff members will aid the University Police Department and hall security in maintaining a safe environment, LaTourette said.

James Brunson, Grant Towers North area coordinator, said students are an integral part of hall security.

Brunson said residence hall security includes members checking for NIU identification cards and room keys in front the doors leading to each wing from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. People not living in residence halls are allowed access by presenting an ID and being accompanied by a resident.

A security system in operation limits elevator use to the residents’ floor, he said. Access to a floor is gained by using the residents’ room keys and will work only on the residents’ floors.

Stairwell access to floors is limited in the same manner. Residents can open doors to only their floors with their room keys. Stairwells always are locked and serve as fire escapes, Brunson said.

All outside doors also are locked, except the main doors in front of each hall, as part of the security system.

Residents need to be “more cautious” in leaving doors open for friends or bypassing the ID check by allowing friends to enter through side doors, LaTourette said. These practices might encourage unwanted access to residence halls and provide opportunities for criminal activity, he said.

Brunson said hall security is fulfilling the job for which it was designed. Additional security would prompt students to say NIU is “infringing on students’ rights,” he said.

“Where does the student (resident) take some responsibility?” Brunson said.

all damage or criminal activity created by residents’ guests is common, and Brunson said hall security “can only do so much.

“Do we walk around with everybody’s guest holding hands?” he said.

Guidelines can be established to increase security, but they would create a bigger problem than they would solve, Brunson said. “We can establish some guidelines for security, but nobody is going to like them—nobody.”

Jon Dihlin, a Grant Towers North resident assistant, said hall security is doing the best possible job. Hall security is sometimes understaffed, but “there’s nothing security can do when residents are propping doors open.”

Kenneth Stocker, a Grant North resident, said he believes security is adequate. Residents need to be responsible and use discretion with guests. “There’s only so much security can do and the rest is up to the residents.”