Almost seven months after a reported sexual assault in a Randolph Dormitory bathroom, University officials are beginning to implement safety and security measures in and around dorms on East Campus.
The changes come in response to a security consulting firm's initial review of East Campus safety, a report that recommended short-term and long-term suggestions, including closed-circuit video surveillance, landscaping alterations and increased police patrols.
Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta commissioned the report late last spring amid growing student concern about security on campus. Pending completion of a final report expected in late October, the University began initiating many of the short-term proposals this month.
"We've decided to do the small things that we could do quickly," Moneta said, "including installing a couple of cameras at Randolph and continuing with some of the [blind spot] mirrors in the bathroom."
Closed-circuit cameras should be installed at the entrances to Randolph in the next several weeks, said Major Robert Dean of the Duke University Police Department.
The feed will not be monitored live, but the footage will be available for review following any incidents that may occur.
"The police department is in favor of installing anything to help campus security," Dean said. "We just hope the people do not abuse these cameras."
He added that Randolph will serve as a pilot site to test the new technology's viability, and that expansion to other dorms remains possible.
Moneta met with resident advisers to inform them of the changes, but has yet to publicize the new initiative to students.
Moneta said the police have initiated other short-term recommendations in all East Campus dorms, including the installation of blind spot mirrors in the bathrooms and cutting back shrubbery to eliminate hiding spots.
Locks and other small security measures have been updated and police patrols have been increased. A consistent access policy has also been established with prescribed hours of access to residence halls by non-residents.
"All the precautions--the systems they have set up--are comforting, but they don't seem infallible," freshman Elizabeth Teel said. "It's hard to have a system that isn't paranoid but is still safe. I like this system; it's a good effort and it at least lets people know they should be cautious."
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Long-term recommendations include cameras for all dorms and a possible card swipe system for bathroom access.
The University hired the consulting firm for East Campus only, and has yet to decide whether to ask them to review Central and West campuses.
"We wanted to start with the campus with our youngest students and our smallest residence halls," Moneta said. "They're the most vulnerable."
Nonetheless, DUPD has initiated some other changes across campus, including the creation of a new Central Campus police substation, which will feature a police staff person on-site during normal business hours, Dean said.