Dining Hall to Increase Security

By Joanna Sperapani
Elm Staff Writer
Public Safety and Dining Services will consider installing alarms on the side exit doors to Hodson Dining Hall. The doors are frequently used by students, but due to security concerns, access for students will most likely be cut off.
One issue that concerns Don Stanwick, director of Dining Services, involves guests sneaking in without paying for food.
“Unfortunately, the goodness of our students is kind of a detriment, because if they see someone coming up the stairs they will hold the door open, and sometimes those people don’t go here,” he said. “In fact, we chased three kids out last night. It happens frequently that the people coming up the stairwells are not paying for food. Granted, we are open to the public, but they need to pay.”
Non-paying patrons are surprisingly frequent, according to staff estimates.
“On average, we believe there’s about ten people a day who attempt to sneak in. Ten students a day amounts to $24,000 of free food [anually]. That money could be used for other things, like special events and specific materials to create a good experience for the students. For us to be able to keep doing things like special events, we can’t just keep losing this money,” Stanwick said.
The side staircases are frequently filled with discarded food, and become extremely messy.
“That does attract bugs and rodents, and the housekeepers are struggling to keep up with the mess, so it becomes a big problem,” he said. “If students are going to throw food in the stairwells, why do I want them in there? If they were to respect the stairwells, it might be different. I’m not saying every student does that, but there are a few that are kind of ruining it for everyone.”
Stanwick said they are concerned about theft. Several items have been stolen recently, both from the Johnson Fitness Center, and from the Dining Hall.
“What we’ve seen in the Dining Hall has been a pretty high number of thefts, so we want to bring it back to one point of control and try to make it only authorized guests,” Gerald Roderick, director of Public Safety, said.
Stanwick acknowledges that many students will most likely be upset by the change, but sees the alarms as the only option to solve a myriad of problems.
“I fully expect that students will complain about it, but unfortunately I don’t see another alternative at this point. We’ve tried to look at other solutions, but this seems to be the only way.”
The side doors will still be accessible during emergencies, but otherwise will be closed off officially when the alarms are installed. The main staircase and elevator will serve as the only points for both entrance and exit to the Dining Hall.

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