Security Protocols Introduced in Seven Residences
New physical access protocols will be introduced on August 12 in five undergraduate residences—Baker, Maseeh, McCormick, Next, and Simmons—as well as the Tang and Westgate graduate residences to kick off the Division of Student Life’s three-year plan to enhance residential security.
The program has two components: improved security hardware and enhanced policies. Most notably residents in undergraduate dorms will see professional security staff monitoring a new system at their building's front security desk. Student workers will be there too, providing resident services. There will also be a few procedural changes for residents. “The technological side comprises state-of-the-art equipment,” said Daniel Roderick, Director of Housing Operations in Residential Life and Dining (RLD). “The policy side helps us bring MIT's program in line with best practices in the security industry.” For example, residents will tap their MIT ID onto a card reader at the front desk when entering their building, and some perimeter doors will be converted to exit-only doors.
“The policies are intended to balance security needs with residents’ requests for flexibility and convenience,” Roderick added. Residents have the option to create a list of guests who have their permission to enter the dorm unescorted between 7:30 am and 12:30 am daily after signing in with security. "The guest list is definitely an improvement for residents of Maseeh Hall," said Jack Carroll, Maseeh Hall Housemaster. “Before, guests had to wait downstairs for their host to sign them in. Now, there is not a need for this. It will be more convenient for the residents," said Carroll. Housemasters will have the latitude to allow residents to add visitors from outside MIT, or limit the number of guests for the houses’ residents to less than 10. Guest lists will be maintained by front desk security, and residents will still be required to sign-in visitors not on their guest lists.
“As everyone adjusts to the measures and we work through any start-up glitches, lines may result at security desks," said Dennis Collins, Director of Capital Renewal, Renovation, and Repair in RLD. "We ask residents to keep in mind that these enhancements are all about keeping them safe, and to have patience with staff who are learning the systems and policies, especially during the first few weeks.”
The program was spurred by the findings of the Residence Hall Security Review Committee in 2012, which comprised students, faculty, DSL, MIT Police, and the Security and Emergency Management Office. To develop the program and pilot policies, DSL worked with consultants TSG Solutions and have engaged AlliedBarton Security to implement the systems and manage the program on a day-to-day basis. Feedback can be submitted through the program website.