Home / Fall 2011 / 2011-09-15 / Students take dorm safety for granted

Students take dorm safety for granted

As a former Resident Assistant for Valdosta State University, I assisted in situations that could have become far more serious, if policies such as the new color coded ID system had not been in place. With those experiences in mind, it is unfortunate that Ms. Kaymaya Hinson expresses a preference of personal convenience over the on-campus safety of herself and her fellow students (‘Housing enforces new id cards for students’, Sept. 8 edition of the Spectator).

The worry over groups of off-campus males attempting to enter the halls, eyeing and tailing visibly less-than-willing female students. Residents leaving their VSU ID and PIN numbers in the possession of an irate boyfriend, resulting in a threat to herself, her suitemates, and her residence hall.

The Campus Security crime statistics indicate that Valdosta State University has had 20 reported on-campus forced sex offences since 2006. Fifteen of those reported incidents occurred within VSU residence halls.

Even with those statistics, Resident Assistants and Front Desk Workers continually have to handle individuals who believe they are above policies that fall well within the limits of basic human decency.

Instead of taking a moment to flash a card and sign a guest in, some students would rather spend 10 minutes attempting to convince an RA or FDW as to why the safety of a residence hall should be compromised at their luxury.

VSU Housing does not exist to make the lives of residents difficult. On the contrary, plenty of otherwise effective ideas to address various residence hall concerns have been scrapped, due to the convenience of VSU students being a major consideration in policy planning.

The color-coded ID system, working in tandem with the VSU ID, is a reasonable and necessary solution to prevent students from becoming Reported Forced Sex Offense Victim No. 21. For every parent that complains because an RA or FDW refused to bend over for their child and subsequently compromise the safety of residents, there is a parent that will not have to hear of their intoxicated daughter being taken advantage of by an off-campus individual, right in their own residence hall.

While working at Georgia Hall, I did my best to address the concerns of my residents, even when it meant jumping straight up the Housing Office organizational ladder to encourage as speedy of a resolution as possible. Regardless of supervisors who insisted that such efforts were “making them look bad,” I made use of every contact and tactic I could find to ensure a resident could feel secure in his or her own bedroom. That degree of dedication is by no means extraordinary amongst RAs and FDWs, who are often the most vocal group of students in discussing and debating how residence hall policies can be improved.

Email your RAs and RHDs. Get involved with hall council. Your candid thoughts on what VSU Housing can do to ensure the security of residence facilities while maximizing student convenience are always welcome.

Rickey Hookes
junior biology major

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