Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SWQ Security Policy Inconvenient, Ineffective

Out of concern for student safety and the living environment of the Southwest Quadrangle, the access policy of McCarthy, Kennedy and Reynolds Halls must be evaluated before another year passes and another 800 Hoyas are placed at a daily risk of being harmed in their new home. Although we acknowledge that administrative officials from various departments at Georgetown University are aware of student concerns and therefore developed a new access policy that went into effect on March 5, 2004, the low-cost measures that have been implemented in no way alleviate the constant safety risk facing Southwest Quadrangle residents, leaving many individuals to wonder if Georgetown University adequately prepared for the opening of this new complex.

Administrative officials have struggled to identify the atmosphere of this new facility and constantly throw around the phrase, “three buildings but one community.” As a result of the interaction that we have had with one another and fellow residences of our individual buildings, we agree with the administration that the Southwest Quadrangle contains “three buildings that compose one community” but feel that the administration inaccurately applies each part of this phrase to descriptions of the Southwest Quadrangle. Representing the opinions and thoughts of building residents, we feel that the following description most accurately describes the living environment of the Southwest Quadrangle.

Three buildings: McCarthy, Kennedy and Reynolds Halls are indeed their own buildings. One is unable to access another building besides that in which he resides without going to the main level. In addition, each building contains a distinct entrance with heavy traffic flow and its own set of elevators and stairwells. Despite the entrance to Kennedy Hall being the main entrance, traffic flow through the McCarthy entrance is far greater as a result of its proximity to Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall and Prospect Street. In addition, nobody can enter Reynolds Hall from either of the other buildings without going outside. Thus, each building requires its own security guard desk to decrease the safety risk that cCarthy and Reynolds residents have been placed at all year. cCarthy Hall has had more than its fair share of minor incidences this year including burglary and vandalism, and we hope that it does not take a major incident inflicting harm, pain and injury onto building residents before McCarthy and Reynolds Halls each receive their own security checkpoints. As a matter of fact, rather than waiting for students in the lobby, restaurants delivering student food orders have been coming to the rooms of McCarthy and Reynolds residents. We all know that these external parties should not have access to any point of a residence hall besides the lobby, but without a guard desk in the lobby nobody is able to stop these external parties from riding the elevators, walking the stairwells or wandering the halls. Although university officials claim that the GOCard access policy responds to this problem, we would like them to consider the high volume of people who enter a building each day by following others in without swiping their GOCard. A guard desk/security checkpoint is the only way to determine that individuals who access a building beyond the lobby have the right to do so. The protection of all students should be a priority at Georgetown University, not just those who live in certain residence halls, and it is time that this concern be addressed before a severe incident arises.

One community: The three dormitories that compose the Southwest Quadrangle are indeed one community and share many facilities. cCarthy, Kennedy and Reynolds residents utilize the same laundry room, mailboxes, recreation rooms and RHO. Thus, members of each building should be granted equal access to all of these facilities through the most convenient point of access. Seeing that residents of the complex can already access all facilities and areas of the different buildings in a roundabout manner, there is no clear reason why building residents are not able to enter these facilities through a more direct and closer point of entry. Besides, had guard desks been placed in McCarthy and Reynolds Halls in the first place, the reason for which this new access policy was implemented – the concern that external parties access dormitory areas where they do not belong – becomes irrelevant.

It has come to the point where the dialogue has gone far enough. Now is the time for action, and university officials with the power to take such action must exercise their authority to protect students. After almost a full academic year, the need for guard desks/security checkpoints in McCarthy and Reynolds Halls remains and building residents are at a continued risk. Worthless measures make it appear as if action has been taken, but we and other students will continue to push for worthwhile investments that better the lives of building residents. It is our hope that the administration indeed values the security of all students – not just those living in certain buildings – and will make the needed changes to Southwest Quadrangle security. If such action is not taken, the face of McCarthy and Reynolds Halls will continue to change for the worse.

Eamonn G. Carr is a sophomore in the College and Community Council president of McCarthy Hall. Kristin M. Shirley is a sophomore in the College and Community Council president of Reynolds Hall.

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