September 22, 2011 10:13 PM
This summer saw a various changes to the way StFX handles security on campus: the disbanding of the Campus Police, the appointment of a new director of safety and security, and the new lack of porters present in MacIsaac, Lane and the Mount residences. The decision to eliminate CP was very controversial last year, but the missing porters seem to be discussed often around campus as of late.
When asking around campus, many students do not seem understand why this change is such an issue. However, Keith Publicover, vice president of recruitment and student experience explains, “People were propping doors in the back and getting into the buildings in other ways. So porters being staged on one door wasn’t enabling security on all the other doors.”
He also states that the money that was being spent on the porters has been looked at and spread out to include more patrols, new locks and systems in upper campus residences, and cameras on all of the exterior doors. He also hopes to work towards replacing the locks on all residences at some point in the near future.
Katie Wilcox, who was a porter in Lane Hall last year, has a similar opinion: “It was just watching one door, when there were five or six others that had no surveillance. Having the swipe locks gives [RAs] way more control over who comes into the buildings.”
Other groups of students remain extremely dedicated to the idea of having a real live person at the door of the building. However, what some may not realize is that security now has a 24/7 watch on all of the doors on campus. In past years, if something were to happen, the porter would have to call the security office, explain the problem, and wait for them to dispatch someone. Only then would security personnel arrive to assist.
Morgan Winchester, a second year science student who lived in MacIsaac last year, feels that by taking away porters, StFX is taking away from security on campus: “I liked having a porter because of there being so many people in Mac it was really easy for someone that you didn’t know to just walk right in behind you. It was nice to have a porter who knew us all by name and could tell as soon as you walked into the building whether or not you were supposed to be there. Also, Mac had swipe locks and cameras last year. It seems kind of counterproductive to take away things that provide security to students.”
Now, unlike other years, the cameras that you see everywhere are actually being monitored all the time. With that new policy in place, there is no need for tedious explanations, and security can send someone over right away.
For those people still maintaining that a person being there for you while you wait for security is important, the porters’ offices in MacIssac and Lane have been converted into offices for the RLCs (Residence Life Co-ordinators), who will be there most evenings. RLCs have extensive training and can help with anything that might happen.
There are also people who don’t understand what the porters were doing in the first place. “I mean, they just watched the door and did guest sign-ins, right? The RAs have been doing that this year and it’s worked out fine,” says Nikki Oickle, who lives in Lane.
This confusion is possibly supports getting rid of the porters. Arts student Tory Paddon says, “As a first year student, I don’t really know how things were done under the old system, but security on campus seems to be really well-monitored this year.”
Finally, a new policy on patrols has been introduced this year. Presently, security has one student employee and one full-time employee patrolling the residences. According to Publicover, there will be more patrols in problem areas during certain times of day, in hopes of deterring unwanted behaviour that may have previously gone unnoticed. All of these changes will hopefully lead to a more effective security force that will help people at StFX feel safer and more comfortable.