Southeast locks outside doors at Myers, New Hall

Friday, February 16, 2007

Southeast Missouri State University began locking outside doors at Myers Hall earlier this month, the second such residence hall to be put under lock and key in a plan designed to better control public access to campus residence halls.

Bruce Skinner, director of residence life, said the university hopes to expand the locked-door policy to all campus residence halls in phases over the next two years.

"We did this in New Hall in the fall semester," Skinner said. Last month, the university began locking doors at nearby Myers Hall on the south side of campus.

Southeast traditionally has locked main doors to student residence halls at 10 p.m. and reopened them at 8 a.m. daily.

"That is a declining trend at other universities," he said. The University of Mississippi, for example, keeps doors locked on all of its residence halls. "You can't get into any of their buildings without a key," he said.

Students in those two residence halls requested the school implement a locked-door policy, Skinner said.

But some Myers Hall students didn't like the idea. Student Janice McMullen found it particularly inconvenient because she'd had foot surgery.

"It was very hard for me dealing with the cold weather because I didn't have on a whole shoe. Being forced to find my key to open the door made me have to stand out in the cold longer than I needed to," she told the Capaha Arrow campus newspaper.

But other students said they had no trouble adjusting to the security move.

At New Hall, entry is limited around the clock to student residents of the building or university employees or vendors who have been given keys to unlock the doors, Skinner said.

Myers Hall locked all of its doors 24 hours a day from Jan. 16 through Jan. 31. The university has since relaxed its policy. The front entrance now remains unlocked when the front desk is manned, typically from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., he said.

But the less restrictive policy can't be followed at New Hall because the office isn't located where staff can monitor those entering or exiting the building, Skinner said.

Students will adapt to the new rules, he said.

"The worst thing that it does is create inconvenience for students," he said. "Students have to carry their room keys with them."

"This is a simple step that I think will at least limit the people who are in the building," he said.

Skinner said the university implemented the locked-door policy at New Hall and Myers Hall first because those two residence halls traditionally house students year-round.

Other entrances are kept locked around the clock to prevent unauthorized access, school officials said.

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