In recent weeks, there has been a recurring issue of non-Rowan students getting into Holly Pointe Commons and disrupting the students who live there. With back-to-back incidents, it may be time to ask, is it just too easy to get into Holly Pointe?
Rowan’s newest residence hall, which opened in 2016, is home to approximately 1,145 mostly first-year students. It boasts five “pods” of dorms, a dining hall, a Starbucks and its own mail room. All those amenities mean many entrances– or many ways for unwelcome guests to enter.
There are seven main entrances to the building. The first two are connected to the dining hall and are open to all students. The other five, which lead to residential bedrooms, bathrooms and lounges, are the for much concern.
To test this theory, reporters El Laughton and Bryant Lopez spent five minutes at each of these five entrances on Friday, Sept. 23, to see how many times they could be let in despite not being residents. They were let in three times at the A pod entrance, twice at the B pod entrance, four times at the C pod entrance, four times at the D pod entrance and six times at the E pod entrance. That is 19 times in the span of just 25 minutes. On average, they were let in approximately every 80 seconds during their experiment.
Nearly every student coming in or out held open the door, but students admitted it’s hard not to.
“Obviously not everyone knows each other. It’s just common courtesy that if you see someone walking, you hold open the door for them,” said Jasmin Hall, a freshman Holly Pointe resident.
Students holding the door open for each other allow the entrances to work more like revolving doors. Each door has what Michael Kantner, Assistant Vice President of the Department of Public Safety and Office of Emergency Management, calls access control. He is referring to the ID scanners at each door.
“Holly Pointe Commons, I wouldn’t agree that it’s too easy to get in. That’s why we have access control and so the only people who should be in there are the ones that can access the building through their IDs, whether they’re employees or they are students,” said Kantner.
Kantner emphasized that it’s important that students do not prop open doors for people they don’t know. He advised that residents treat Holly Pointe’s entrances the same way they would treat the front door of their house.
“If by chance someone does walk in, say they [a resident] didn’t shut the door right and they [a non-resident] come in quick behind them, we don’t expect the students to confront that person,” said Kantner.
Rather, he said, students should contact public safety or their RA who will contact public safety on the student’s behalf.
“I never want anyone not to call us, or to think ‘Ah, public safety is too busy. They don’t need to do this.’ No, we’re here for the students and we’re here for the Rowan community. If you see something, say something,” Kantner said.
Kantner also stated that several communications have been made to Holly Pointe CA’s and residents in order to educate them on how to stay vigilant in regards to safety and security.
“We never get tired of sending out the same message over and over again to students… If I need to tell the students something 100 times, I’m gonna tell them 101, because we are constantly sending that message out to try and enhance their safety and security awareness,” said Kantner.
Despite this, no Holly Pointe residents spoken to by The Whit recall receiving messages in regards to safety and security in the building.
Regardless of Kantner’s sentiments, the problem remains unresolved. Residents expressed that while something should be done, they don’t know what.
“It’s just a security issue the school needs to work on,” said Hall. “There are a lot of points of entry… and I don’t know if these security cameras are working or not, but maybe they just need to get those checked.”
While Hall referenced security cameras, fellow resident Aaryan Deshpande, a freshman biomedical engineering major, suggested that more security around the building may help. Both students were hesitant in their answers.
“It’s a little weird knowing that just anyone could walk in here if they really wanted to… because so many people just walk up here and ask you to swipe them in,” Deshpande said. “If they really wanted to fix it, maybe having a security person or something out there, but I know that’s pretty tough to do with personnel. Honestly, I’m not really sure what you could do that would really be efficient.”
Whether the issue at hand is students being irresponsible about who they allow in the building, shortcomings of public safety, or a simple design flaw in Holly Pointe with its various entryways, there is no clear solution in sight.
“[Living here] it’s definitely not fun,” Hall said. “Me and my roommate, we had our door banged on multiple times– people ripping off our stuff on our door. It’s just really loud.”
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