Locked out

During the weekend of the IMF-turned-anti-war protests, the GW guest policy was tightened to keep out visitors. Non-GW students were prohibited from entering all residence halls, and all GW students signed in for visits even in normally unmanned buildings.

To tighten security at residence halls such as New Hall and Munson Hall, where GW has stopped placing community hosts to sign in guests, the University hired an independent security company to man every building for two weeks surrounding the protests.

Students used to visiting friends in residence halls without swiping their GWorld cards were required to sign their name and enter with the person living in the building.

According to the 2001-2002 Residential Community Conduct Guidelines and Administrative policies guide provided by the Community Living and Learning Center, it is the center’s responsibilty to provide a safe environment for students who live in residence halls and protect them from access to the halls and rooms by unauthorized individuals.

“Additional sign-in procedures, which may include requests to show additional forms of identification, may be put in place in any hall where it is deemed necessary to maintain a safe and secure environment,” the guide says.

Freshman Matt O’Keefe said he feels the strict policy was a good safety precaution. Anything could have happened during this time of uncertainty, and there was no other way to prepare for it, he said.
“I like that they could tell who was in the building at all times,” O’Keefe said. “It helped to quell parents’ fears.”

Sophomore Tyler Van Fleet said she found the process of signing in friends to be an unnecessary hassle.

“More security should be expected,” she said. “But if you have a valid GWorld card, I feel you should be able to swipe it to get into any building.”

Some GW students said they felt strongly against having to be signed into residence halls.

Students who had multiple visitors were required to escort each one to the room even if they arrived at different times.

“I had a party, and it was a pain to go back and forth from my room and the front desk to sign people in,” sophomore Shara Boote said.
Sophomore Kristy Shimabukuro said she understands the purpose behind the policy but found it drastic because she could not bring in friends from outside of school.

“We were here by ourselves, and we wanted company over,” Shimabukuro said. “There was nothing to do, and protests just weren’t happening around us.”

Others said they felt the temporary policy was just a facade of safety the school was trying to uphold.

Sophomore Roman Pokora questioned how much safety the contracted guards added, saying that some security guards were apathetic to signing people in and checking GWorld cards to make sure the ID matched the person.

“It never stopped us from sneaking people in,” Pokora said.
Sophomore Jesse Dailey said security should not be tightened for the sake of the protesting.

But others said the measure was an understandable response to fears of safety after violent protests took place in Genoa, Italy, last summer.

“I think we can make a few sacrifices for security,” freshman David Gil said. “We can’t have it both ways.”

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