The student guard system at Georgetown University has been plagued with management and scheduling inefficiencies, a situation that has been exacerbated since the beginning of this school year. As a result, guards have been scheduled for longer and more inconsistent shifts.
The student guard system provides no substantial contribution to campus security. As such, Georgetown should eliminate student guards and provide students who receive federal work-study with alternative job opportunities, rather than reforming the badly broken system.
Currently, student guards are stationed at most residence halls, excluding apartment complexes, Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall and Ida Ryan and Isaac Hawkins Hall. The guards are tasked with checking IDs before permitting students to enter these spaces between 8 a.m. and midnight.
In an email to The Hoya, Georgetown Chief of Police Jay Gruber claims student guards add a layer of security and deterrence to residence halls. But ID scanning technology makes much of student guards’ jobs obsolete and student guards do not appear to make residence halls safer.
When entering most residence halls, students must swipe their GOCard to open the doors and swipe their card again to access the stairs or an elevator. And once they arrive on their floor, they still need their keys to access their room. Throughout the multiple checkpoints, the extra ID check between the entrance and elevator access by student guards do not provide extra security.
Moreover, the data prove that student guards are not an effective deterrent against crime on campus. Residential spaces unmanned by student guards, which include Village A, Alumni Square and Arrupe Hall, have lower rates of reported crimes such as break-ins, theft or vandalism. In fact, in 2017 and 2018, residences without student guards consistently had lower rates of reported crime that occurred inside the building, according to the Georgetown University Police Department daily crime logs. Despite Gruber’s claims, student guards are not an effective deterrent to crime.
Existing GOCard scanners and door locks are sufficient to prevent crime; student guards do not positively contribute to campus security.
With insufficient student guard personnel, guards have been given longer, more inconsistent shifts, leading to posts being left empty. In the current state of mismanagement, the student guard system is not only ineffective, but also detrimental to its employees.
Students who work as guards through federal work-study do not sufficiently benefit from the job. While federal work-study jobs are vital to some students’ ability to afford Georgetown tuition, these jobs should not negatively influence students’ Georgetown experiences.
Scheduling mismanagement by Department of Public Safety can cause students unnecessary stress in addition to their academic and extracurricular obligations, according to Taryn Wolfsohn (SFS ’21), a former student guard.
“While I had no qualms with the job overall, the inefficiency in scheduling often made it difficult to find someone to cover your shift,” Wolfsohn wrote to The Hoya.
Federal work-study jobs should bolster a student’s college experience, not detract from it. To provide students with better employment opportunities, Georgetown should eliminate student guard posts and use federal work-study grants for jobs that will better serve the campus community and student workers themselves.
The student guard system at Georgetown is broken: The jobs do not provide substantial benefits to the Georgetown community nor to the students who work the job. Georgetown does not need to fix the broken system; it needs to eliminate student guards.