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Metal Detectors Now Required for Some Large Events

By Shang-Lin Chuang
News Editor

The use of metal detectors will now be required for on-campus events that meet a set of criteria set forth by the Campus Activities Complex and the Residence and Campus Activities Office.

The policy was announced at an activities planning workshop last Thursday night and in "Planning Events:AGuidebook for Student Activities."

Last spring's Sonic Youth concert and the step dance sponsored by Chocolate City and Kappa Alpha Psi were pilot tests for the detector. A party held this past weekend by Zeta Psi Beta, a traditionally black sorority not affiliated with the Interfraternity Council, was the first official event requiring metal detectors.

The policy will mainly be applied to student events that anticipate 250 or more people. If such an event is open to non-MIT students, will have alcohol, or will have a live band or other form of musical entertainment, then the organizers of the event must arrange at the time of event registration to have metal detectors present.

These guidelines are focused mainly on large events that take place in La Sala de Puerto Rico, Lobdell Court, and the Johnson Athletic Center rather than in dormitories and living groups, said Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski.

The regulations will be evaluated in the spring, she said.

Incidents spurred interest

The tightened security is a result of a string of violent incidents that occurred over the past few years including the 1987 murder of a Northeastern University student at a Student Center party, a 1989 shooting in the Kresge Auditorium parking lot, two 1991 stabbings in the Student Center, and a 1992 stabbing at Delta Kappa Epsilon, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin.

Under the guidelines, the use of metal detectors can be requested by organizers of events that do not fulfill the set of criteria. Exemptions can be requested and will be carefully evaluated by Glavin to keep policy consistent, said Jablonski.

Student screeners required

A Campus Police detail and three trained screeners must be present for each walk-through metal detector. The event's sponsor will have to either send students for training or hire students as screeners, according to the CAC and RCAguidelines. There will also be one trained screener operating a hand held metal detector for each walk-through detector.

The number of detectors required depends on the number of the people that are expected to attend the event. The Spring Weekend concert last April had four detectors, which is probably the maximum number of detectors that could be needed, said Glavin.

The metal detectors were purchased by the Campus Police. They are stored in the Campus Activities Complex, and calibrated by the Campus Police prior to the events.

"These detectors are basically for the safety of our own student body. The biggest thing the detectors do is to scare away the people carrying weapons who shouldn't be there," said Jablonski.

"The detectors have worked really well. Students in general understand why they are used and are used to going through them for parties and concerts," she said.