In response to concerns over personal safety on the Fraternity Quad, a group of administrators, faculty and students met last semester to create new guidelines and reaffirm old ones to ensure that houses and events are secure.

“After a few incidents transpired involving physical altercations on the Fraternity Quad at the beginning of the fall semester, a meeting was arranged to prevent future issues,” Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Monica Smalls said.

Some of the policies put into place following last semester’s meeting include requiring those entering a house event to show UR ID or be accompanied by someone with a UR ID. Also, students have been directed to call UR Security if suspicious persons are seen loitering outside of the various houses.

Fraternities are also examining ways to make their houses more secure by adding punch code or card access readers on exterior doors and keeping all doors locked after a predetermined time.

Additionally, there are several initiatives that the fraternity houses and UR Security are working on together. Those projects include having UR Security pay for the installation of an optional direct phone line near the house’s entryway, so that there is direct contact with UR Security, and the installation of new closed circuit television cameras focused on the Fraternity Quad. “So far we have not had any requests to install new phone lines,” Assistant Director of UR Security Alena Johnson said.

Groups can also meet with security personnel to design a party monitoring system specific to each house.

“The idea behind party monitoring initiatives was to have procedures in place when the houses throw parties. It is important that students have a course of action before hand if someone is unruly. We want to help develop a consistent approach for students to have access to and egress from events,” said Johnson.

UR Security created a detail specifically to patrol the Fraternity Quad. These officers stayed around the Fraternity Quad from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. or later, as deemed necessary, on Fridays and Saturdays. Primarily, they focus on removing disruptive individuals who threaten the order of the Fraternity Quad as needed.

“The idea to have security patrolmen monitoring the exterior of the Fraternity Quad came from students,” Smalls said. “We decided to have security stationed there until the weather changed. Beginning this weekend, there will not be officers specially stationed there, but we will continue to monitor any future need.”

The new closed-circuit television camera can monitor the Fraternity Quad when UR Security is not present. “We’re not trying to spy on them or look into common areas,” Johnson said. “People can stop by Security’s office to see exactly what visibility we have. The Security officer post outside was a temporary solution – the camera serves the same function as the officers. It can monitor the quad in real time so that we have an early warning in the dispatch office if there is activity on the quad we would need to respond to.”

There is some disagreement over the camera’s role, however.

“We don’t want it to be used to have someone just watching the cameras monitoring real-time activity,” Fraternity Presidents’ Council member and junior Dan Linge said. “We think it should be used as a way to review incidents that have already happened.”

It is unlikely at this point that students will notice any changes on the Fraternity Quad, given that these new initiatives were implemented last semester. Students seem to have taken the changes in stride.

“I don’t know if there’s been a decrease in issues overall, but certainly in major altercations,” Linge said. “I think that the house residents themselves are making a better effort to keep off-campus people from entering their houses.”

All parties involved have the common goal of ensuring that people are having a safe experience on the Fraternity Quad.

“Some students have a negative reaction when they see security,” Linge said. “That doesn’t need to be the case so long as UR Security is there to protect students in security matters. Everyone can work together.”Keesing can be reached at jkeesing@campustimes.org.



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