Campus security

Every day, holed up the news office, The Courier staff witnesses the constant pacing of the campus security guards, who walk past the window a couple times an hour. Always checking. During the day, it seems somewhat excessive.

However, those who have experienced the campus after dark know that it feels a little different in the evening. In November 2008 Courier article, Director of Building and Grounds, Ian Robertson, stated that “most instances of concern [on campus] have been domestic disputes.” True as this may be, it is little comfort when walking quickly through the forested campus after a night-class that lets out at 9:30pm. There has to be a first time for almost everything, after all.

Capilano University is a very program-oriented school, with particularly well-regarded jazz and film programs. For many of these students, the resources available on campus are essential for the work they do in their classes, such as film sets and equipment or studio space for the IDEA program. With daily schedules that would leave your average University Transfer student in awe, it is common to find these vocational program students working on campus and pushing the official 11:00pm campus lock-up deadline.

The school’s security does not reflect the students need to be on campus late at night. As of February 27, the Capilano Students Union (CSU) decided to lock its doors at 7:00 pm, instead of 11:00pm like the rest of the campus. The initiative was brought forward by security guards who were concerned about another the safety of the new projector, given the break-in that occurred in November 2008. The CSU building is the first safe stop for students coming out of the forest. In a worst-case scenario, at least there is a lockable bathroom in the lounge, and areas to hide. Thus, it seems odd that student safety is being potentially sacrificed for the security of an electronic device (albeit an expensive one) that has a cage built around it.

The security buzzers that can be found around campus sound good in principle, but they have their flaws also. At least one still has not been installed since they received an upgrade in November of 2008. Furthermore, the functionality of the buzzers is questionable. For a student to deem it necessary to hit an alarm buzzer, the situation would likely have to be an emergency. However, in a dire emergency, it is greatly unlikely that someone would be willing to wait at a security box for help to come – they would probably be running the hell away from whatever the problem is.

Ideally, students should be able to phone security anytime for any safety problem. They can, in theory, however in reality no one knows the number. It is not posted anywhere on campus, apart from the school’s website. Calling security from a cell phone is a far more practical option than waiting helplessly at a buzzer.

It has been acknowledged that the security at Capilano is not by any means perfect – Vice President of Student and Institutional Support Patrick Donahoe, along with Ian Robertson, conducted a walkabout of the campus, largely to address lighting and sightline issues.

However, in future plans, the nature of Capilano University and it’s borderline nocturnal student body should be taken into greater account. For the time being, I will do my part by leaving you with the campus security phone number: 604-984-1763. Program it into your cell phone, and don’t be afraid to use it.

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