Students feel safe regardless of relaxed policies

By Gus Bode

Kristina Lopez stood in the freezing cold with two friends who helped her move back into her Mae Smith dorm room.

Neither of Lopez’s friends are students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale; however, both of them could move freely in and out of the residence halls Sunday.

The housing system normally requires students to use a magnetic key at all hours. Residents also must swipe an identity card between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. and visitors must have identification and be signed in at the front desk.


Visitors such as Lopez’ friends and others were permitted to come and go as they pleased because the housing department decided to forgo the card-swiping security system normally in place for “regular” daytime hours during move-in weekend.

Beth Scally, associate director of university housing, said her department’s reasons for unlocking the doors were justified.

“We always take into account convenience versus security and trying to find that perfect balance,” Scally said.

She said she and her staff felt when there are so many extra people watching each floor, they had a good balance between ease and security.

Lopez, a sophomore from Batavia studying public relations, said the different security measures taken for move-in weekend were not a big deal.

Todd Sigler, director of the department of public safety, said he thought the housing department was only trying to keep move-in as convenient as possible for students.

Keys and sign ins aren’t the only way the university works to keep its students safe on campus. Sigler said his department has established programs and features for students to utilize.


In the fall, SIUC police opened up the Night Safety Transit – a resource to give safe rides to students – to males as well as females. The program was formerly called Women’s Night Safety Transit.

Sigler said they plan to allow the changes to run for a year before making any permanent decisions. However, he said he was pleased with the response from male riders.

“I think we’ve got about a 40 percent male rider-ship,” he said.

Sigler said in one four-week period during the fall semester, the department saw an average of 35 riders per night. Due to the consolidation of two cars to one van, Sigler said the wait times have sometimes been a little longer than desired, but they still had an average of a 12 minute wait, which Sigler said he was pleased with.

Sigler also said the new lights at the Recreation Center help create a safer environment for students.

“If they feel safe, that’s obviously a good thing,” he said. “You don’t want them to let their guard down though.”

Sigler said, although his department does not have any new projects in store this semester, it would look at existing projects and maybe even projects for the near future.

When the library construction project gets closer to completion, Sigler said the department would look closer into projects such as parking lot expansion and extra lighting.

Christian Holt can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected].