Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey falls flat in 5-0 loss to Northeastern -

January 20, 2018

UMass women’s track and field takes first, men fourth at Joe Donahue Games -

January 20, 2018

Sanzo: UMass’ game vs. St. Louis is a sign of what it is without its grit -

January 20, 2018

UMass men’s basketball gets blown out by Saint Louis, 66-47 -

January 20, 2018

UMass hockey shuts down No. 8 Northeastern with 3-0 win -

January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

Campus security and “tailgating” concerns

When passing through doorways, there is a certain distance at which it is acceptable to hold the door for individuals not far behind you, and one at which this is inappropriate. If someone is too far, it is awkward and often unnecessary to do this. If someone is too close, it is often rude not to. Students are told not to hold doors open for people passing through the dormitories, or let people “tailgate” into the residence halls.

But try as they might, it is often impossible to stop this from happening. What are you supposed to do if you leave a hall and someone you do not know is nearly at the door? If you have already left, and the door is closing behind you, is there any real socially acceptable way to tell strangers to wait until it is closed for them to swipe their cards? There is not. It will happen.

Campus security staffs individuals at front desks so residents will identify themselves as positively belonging to a specific building. As much as this is almost unequivocally a good thing, there are clearly no perfect systems, and I do not suspect reasonable people expect them. There are only so many hours security staff can deter would-be criminals from entering. They are people. They need to sleep. And when they do, unlawful entrances happen either because entering or exiting students cannot reasonably halt people from snagging closing doors, or otherwise. Most of these incidents involve visitors with no malicious intent. Some of them, unfortunately, result in robberies.

It cannot be said that campus security is lacking or insufficient when this happens. At least, this cannot be said if it occurs after working hours when traffic is low and the sun will soon rise. Security cannot be afforded constantly, and we cannot always be protected. At a certain point, the populace can simply not point fingers at those charged with the responsibility of keeping it generally safe, and the onus comes to the individual to make himself safe. Those robbed do not need to be considered at fault, to be regarded thoughtless. In the same way, those who give closing doors that one extra passing bump – even if only to be polite – are doing something equally negligent. This may not be a tactful way of framing the issue, but it is an honest one. Every single one of us has done this at some point or another, and nearly none of them result in any form of harm.

Indeed, this is a point that warrants a moment of closer examination. Barring a kind of optimism-pessimism dichotomy, a perfectly reasonable observation of human behaviors is that a fraction of people are ill-natured. Few people have been robbed on this campus relative to the number of those who have not. In a very real way, we are safe. Recent events need only serve as a reminder of something people, in general, already knew: there is a clear distinction between being cautious in a way where we inhibit healthy social functioning and one in which we prevent the comparatively rare from racking our comfort and wallets.

So keep your room doors locked at all times, whether you are sleeping or not. Even if you leave for a matter of seconds, lock your door and take your key with you. As a special word of advice to the freshmen reading this piece, have frank discussions with your roommates about doing exactly the same. There is no good reason not to.

Brian Benson is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at bbenson@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Campus security and “tailgating” concerns”
  1. vern says:

    Very well put Brian!

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