The universitys decision to install peepholes in residence halls is a good move toward improving safety conditions for on-campus residents.
The Residence Halls Association proposed a bill to install peepholes in all residence halls. The proposal came out of a subcommittee called Safety and Security Group that discussed ways to make students feel safer on campus.
The subcommittee includes representatives from RHA, Residence Life, University Housing and the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety. It was formed after a sexual assault in Phillips Hall in October 1999.
Nearly 10,000 peepholes will be installed by fall 2001.
While it is admirable the university is making efforts to improve safety on campus, it is a shame it took RHA so long to act on this matter and for the university to take action once the proposal was made.
The Safety and Security Group was formed in late 1999, but a resolution was not passed by RHA until fall 2000. It took the university until now to announce it will install peepholes. Now installation will not be complete until nearly two years after the issue was first discussed.
Peepholes are a good tool in keeping living spaces safe. They provide a sense of security and give residents more control over their own environment. The cost of installation is minimal and immaterial compared to the sense of security peepholes provide.
The ability to screen visitors can help to prevent many incidents. Many apartment buildings and hotels are equipped with peepholes so residents and guests feel more secure. Few people open the door to their homes without first looking out the window to see who is outside. Residence halls should provide the same security.
Safety is ultimately in the hands of the residents, and peepholes help them to create a more secure environment. However, peepholes and other safety measures should not be relied on solely for security.
Residents must take responsibility and use common sense. Outside doors should not be propped, room doors should be locked at night and when residents are not inside them. Students should not sign strangers into their dorm.
Peepholes are not just a safety measure, but a study aid and general convenience. Residents can decide whether the visitor has business pressing enough to interrupt studying or not. Distractions can be prevented before they become a problem. Residents can also screen out visitors at any time for any reason the same way they screen calls with caller ID.
The university should always strive to make the residence halls a safer environment and its decision to put peepholes in dorms is a good one. The benefits gained far exceed the cost of installation. Peepholes are a good way of screening out potential distractions and give residents peace of mind.
While the responsibility to keep residence halls safe lies with the residents, peepholes help provide a sense of security and give students more control over their own safety.