Residence Life continues to seek creating a safe environment for students living in the residence halls this school year.
An email from Residence Life was sent out on Sept. 21 to students reminding them of the safety measures in place after individuals who do not attend ACU tried to enter residence halls.
However, Emily Berry, Director of Residence Life Operations, said this has not been a common occurrence this semester.
“I think that we have a really nice campus and really nice facilities,” Berry said. “So, because we have the Lunsford Trail, which is accessible to the Abilene community, there’s always going to be people that are curious.”
Berry also said if you do not know somebody personally, you should not let them in the building.
“It maybe seems a little counterintuitive,” Berry said. “But, when we’re talking about letting somebody into your home, don’t hold the door open for somebody you don’t know.”
She said there is nothing wrong with making every student swipe their ID in order to get into their residence hall.
“While we don’t want to be rude and slam the door in people’s face, I would rather slam the door in somebody’s face than give somebody who is not approved to have access,” Berry said.
The open house policy the residence halls have in place is also constructed with student safety in mind. Open house is when guests of the opposite gender are allowed into the halls.
“The reason that we make people sign in and out, that we are really, really diligent about that is to make sure that we know who is on the hall and why,” Berry said.
Berry expressed that if a student has any concerns they should reach out to ACUPD.
“They are people that walk our halls regularly, they monitor our camera system, they are people that keep us really informed about what is going on,” Berry said. “They’re just our number one partner, and a really, really great resource.”
ACUPD is also implementing a new program this year called Adopt A Hall. This program pairs each freshman residence hall with an ACUPD officer. ACUPD Lieutenant Bucky Wright said the goal is for the officer to form relationships with the resident advisors, resident directors and students living in the residence hall.
“The idea of it is that if a student is feeling uncomfortable, has a question, we want them to be able to reach out to that officer and ask that question,” Wright said.
Wright said the officers will build trust and connections with students through events such as Coffee with a Cop and a midnight barbecue.
“This program is designed to have instead of just students seeing multiple officers coming through there that they don’t really know, this will give them the idea that if they have a question or a concern they can go to the one officer,” Wright said.
He also said that all officers will still continue their daily patrol and check all of the dorms on a regular basis, not just the hall they are assigned.
“We communicate very well with Res Life, we work very closely with them,” Wright said. “I think this will just open up that line of communication that allows the students to say ‘Hey, at least I’ve got somebody I can go talk to now,’ and we’ll get it taken care of.”