SFA’s Residence Life Department is enforcing a new policy to keep the residence halls locked from the outside 24/7.

Only Lumberjack Landing will be unlocked from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow access to the Ed and Gwen Cole Student Success Center.

While most residence halls, such as Wisely Hall and Lumberjack Village, have already followed this policy for semesters prior, SFA is now pushing for changes that may heighten student safety and comfort campuswide.

Shea Roll, assistant director for SFA’s Residence Life Department, said that student and staff suggestion is what brought on the change.

“This [change] was in response to our students,” Roll said. “Every Spring, we have an assessment to see how we can improve our halls to make our Lumberjacks feel most at home. Safety is one of the topics covered in that assessment.”

According to a Residence Hall 2018-2019 survey provided by Roll, 50% of students voted that they “strongly agree” to feeling safer in their residence hall. 46% of students just “agreed” to the statement, while only 4% “disagreed.”

After the initial student assessment, Residence Life went on to survey 5,000 other schools about their safety measures, and found that most small and large universities already enforce this policy. The results then had to be carefully considered before making a plan.

“We discussed our results with the University Police Department and the Dean of Students,” Roll said. “Together, we all decided this was in the best interest of our institution.”

Roll adds that residents so far have expressed feeling safer, and that if a student does lose his or her campus ID card, there will be a number posted outside of the residence halls to call for immediate assistance.

D’nese Haddox, associate director of residence life, said that she feels the change will be an asset to the campus.

“I feel that any steps the university can take to enhance security will have a positive impact on our students,” Haddox said.

Community Assistants in the residence halls seemed to find value in the new policy, as well. Maya Carter, community assistant in Kerr Hall, said that the change makes things easier for her and the other community assistants.

“I think [the residence halls being locked] is a good idea,” Carter said. “Honestly, I feel like it’s safer. It makes it so that all students have to have their IDs checked. Now, we know for sure who’s  coming in. And, at least over here, we haven’t had any issues with students trying to sneak in, or anything like that.”

There have been a few issues to work out along the way, but none that have caused the community assistants much trouble at all.

“We’re kind of working through a few things,” Carter said. “So, sometimes, IDs aren’t working, and things like that. However, those issues are being worked out now.”

Students, however, seem to have mixed feelings. Kaitlin Jowers, sophomore psychology major from Floresville, said that getting through the locked doors could be a hassle at times.

“It’s sort of frustrating [for the doors to be locked], but it’s for safety, so I understand,” Jowers said. “It’s kind of annoying to have to pull my ID out all the time, but it’s not too bad.”

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