The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 42.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

MIT Dorm Security Measures Unchanged

By Kevin R. Lang

While Boston University barred windows and installed surveillance cameras following an on-campus rape last week, MIT does not currently plan to increase dormitory security.

The Daily Free Press, BU’s student newspaper, reported last week that BU is increasing police patrols, adding light fixtures, and encouraging vigilance about suspicious persons. A BU first-year student was raped in Loretto Hall after the suspect entered through a basement window, police say.

Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin said that MIT has no specific plans following the BU incident. “Obviously, housing security is reviewed from time to time,” Glavin said. Campus police are not directly responsible for dorm security, but they do consult with deans on such matters, Glavin said.

Glavin said that implementation of the MIT Card system several years ago greatly improved dorm security. While the card limits access to residents, “that doesn't make it entirely exempt from any and all possible happenings,” Glavin said.

At both East Campus and MacGregor House, a number of dorm entrances have individual card-key doors. These entrances are not overseen by a desk worker, thus giving residents of the floor or entry control of who can enter the dorm.

East Campus maintains guest lists of students who are given key cards to individual floors. East Campus’ main door is open during the day, but a card key is still needed to enter any of the residential areas.

“We’ve had instances in the past,” said desk captain Mimi Yang ’00. Yang said that residents will often let people in to individual entrances.

“Actually, it’s a concern for any residence, even in the ones where you have a desk nearby,” Glavin said. Students should not hold doors open for unfamiliar people, Glavin said. “Really no matter where you are, you have to worry about that.”

Desk workers regulate security

In dorms like Baker House and McCormick Hall, desk workers control entrance to the dorm. “My sense is it probably works fairly well,” Glavin said.

McCormick’s front desk has direct view of the entrance, and desk workers can see who they are buzzing in. McCormick desk worker Wendy W. Fan ’00 said that guests are buzzed in, but they must check in with the desk worker. McCormick maintains guest lists of people who are allowed to enter the dorm, and residents must come down to meet other visitors.

“McCormick security is probably tighter than most dorms,” Fan said. Fan said that male students are always stopped at the desk, but “sometimes girls slip by.”

Emily W. Brosi ’02, a desk worker at MacGregor, said that students must call the desk to be buzzed in. Late at night, the desk worker will often ask the resident to approve the visitor, Brosi said.

While MacGregor Convenience is open to the MIT community, it does not provide any access to the interior of MacGregor. The tunnel connecting New House to MacGregor Convenience also has a card-key door at the New House entrance.

Campus police held a pizza study break at MacGregor last week to discuss safety issues, alcohol policy, and services offered by campus police. Glavin said that the program started last year, and will continue with one or two study breaks per dorm, per year.

“They’ve been very well attended,” Glavin said.