Stop Letting Strangers Into the Cal Lu Dorms

For a small, “safe” campus, when I told friends and classmates that I was writing a story about campus safety, everyone had something to say.

It seemed like everyone I talked to had some examples of sketchy encounters or experiences on campus, whether it be in the dorms or around campus.

We as students need to take our safety seriously. We have a responsibility to be aware that when we’re swiping in, someone might be able to walk in after us.

Emily Jabourian, a sophomore California Lutheran University student, said over spring break a man asked her to be let into the pool by Grace Hall.  

“[This man] had, like, a bunch of keys like a janitor would have,” Jabourian said. “So I didn’t think too much of it. And he said, ‘Hey, can you let me into the pool? I gotta go to the bathroom.’…And I let him in.”

She said Campus Safety was there a few minutes later kicking the man out, telling him to stop coming back to campus.

It’s great that Campus Safety was there to save the day, but it was too easy for this man to get in at all by convincing a student that he belonged there. He’s an adult and Jabourian is a young student. He has “authority” over her. This isn’t an event by chance, it could happen to any of us.

How are students supposed to differentiate people who don’t belong versus who is a parent going to see their child? Or a student who forgot their ID card?

I can’t write down every story I heard over the past week. That article would be too long. Some students are even too scared to share their real stories.  

California Lutheran University does take precautions when it comes to our safety. We have Campus Safety, cameras around campus and the keycard system that is used for dorms.

Brad Edens, senior resident assistant in Grace Hall, wrote in an email interview that RAs are “campus first responders.” This means that RAs are usually the first students to hear when anything happens.

“Being an RA entails many duties and responsibilities which are in place to ensure safety in the residence halls as well as to build community,” Edens wrote. Their main protocol is contacting Campus Safety.

It is reassuring that RAs are trained students living on campus with Campus Safety officers as a point of contact. But RAs cannot see everything all the time.

According to the 2018 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report that can be found on Cal Lutheran’s website, in 2017 there were four reported cases of stalking on campus and four cases of burglary with unlawful entry. And those are just the reported cases. The National Sexual Victimization of College Women Survey found that 83 percent of students who were stalked did not notify the campus police or other school authorities.

The residence buildings recently posted flyers around the halls that state “do not let strangers in.”

But how vague is that? It may also cause students to worry about what prompted these new signs. Should we be concerned about our safety?

The security system in the dorms is efficient, in theory. In order to get into rooms, someone has to get through two separate points with a key card. One to get into the building and another to get into the actual room. But getting past the front door seems easy since students often hold the door for others. At that point, strangers have access to a lot in the building.

Residence hall safety is something we need to be more aware of and something we as students should take more seriously. These things are happening, on campus and in our dorms. We need to be careful about who we’re giving access to and stay on top of who we’re letting.

Lindsey Potter