In light of the recent destruction that Hurricane Sandy wrought over much of the nation’s Eastern Seaboard, it’s important to assess how UR would be affected in a similar situation. Although Rochester isn’t usually home to hurricanes, this city is no stranger to other forms of inclement weather that can cause large-scale problems, such as power outages.
In the event of a power outage, one of the largest obstacles for students would be entering their dorm buildings since electronic card access safeguards all residential buildings on campus. While this is generally regarded as a positive security measure, in the face of a detrimental storm that wipes out power, students would not be able to easily seek shelter inside these buildings.
To remedy this, UR Security could potentially send officers to manually unlock residential buildings, propping the doors open long enough to allow a significant number of students to enter; however, propping doors open in extreme weather would be a safety hazard in and of itself. Furthermore, this contingency plan would not be feasible for buildings in the Riverview Apartments.
Not only is each building in the complex locked with an electronic card reader, but so is each individual apartment. It would already be a huge undertaking for Security to unlock all 32 residential buildings on campus, let alone expecting them, even with the help of the Riverview CAs and the Riverview manager, to unlock 120 individual apartments in a timely manner.
While Riverview residents are already provided with actual keys for their individual bedrooms, they are not provided with keys for the main door to their apartment. If they were, the chaos that could currently ensue if there were a school-wide power outage could be avoided.
All students, especially those in Riverview, should be equipped with keys to allow manual entry into their buildings and apartments as a proactive measure. Although this would inarguably be a costly endeavor for the school to undertake, it would benefit student safety on campus.