A new task force comprised of top campus services administrators will conduct an in-depth assessment of security on East Campus, taking into account recent campus-wide security concerns as well as recent or upcoming plant changes to East Campus.
"In the wake of the [robbery in the Bryan Center] last fall, there has been an increased security presence on West Campus and, to an extent, on East Campus as well," said Vice President for Campus Services Kemel Dawkins, who commissioned the task force. "But East Campus presents a unique set of challenges. We thought that as we're going about developing a new dorm and other things on East, it would be a good time to revisit a variety of issues on that campus, including security."
The task force will meet throughout the spring and summer, in hopes of producing a set of recommendations by early fall, Dawkins said. Thus far, the group's work has consisted of preliminary information and planning meetings between Duke University Police Chief Clarence Birkhead, Director of Residence Life and Housing Services Eddie Hull and acting Director of Facilities Management Department Glenn Reynolds.
"What we're trying to do now is find a framework that will help us assess what the issues really are that we face, and how well we are facing them," Hull said.
Members of the task force said they expect the group to grow to include other representatives from Campus Services, once they have identified the direction they will take with the task force. Eventually, they will invite other members of the wider Duke community, such as students, faculty and staff, to participate as well.
"This is a great opportunity to share ideas across various departmental boundaries," Birkhead said. "Sometimes it really pays to get a fresh perspective."
Members of the task force said the new dormitory on East Campus, which will be built between Randolph Dormitory and Broad Street, would factor greatly in their upcoming security discussions. The University has already planned for another police substation in the new dorm in an attempt to increase police visibility and accessibility on East Campus.
Reynolds noted that, as with the construction of the West-Edens Link dormitory on West Campus, the addition of a new dormitory necessitates a new look at campus entry points, both vehicular and pedestrian, and at the pedestrian pathways that traverse the campus.
In addition, he said, the task force will need to consider any new activities that are springing up on East Campus.
"There are always students with new activities and interests, so we're making sure we're accommodating those and providing consistent coverage for all of them," he said.
Hull noted that the group's work will inevitably affect not only East Campus but also the rest of campus.
"You can't really talk about East Campus security without talking about the fact that East Campus residents also go to West Campus, Central Campus and Ninth Street," he said. "I don't think any of us are looking at this as just an East Campus Issue, and it's not a far reach to anticipate that some of the things we talk about will extend to West and elsewhere as well."
Birkhead also noted that the task force's work will be applicable to other parts of campus. He doubted, however, that there would be a direct correlation between security needs on East Campus and on other parts of campus.
"Obviously East Campus is kind of a self-contained environment," he said. "If we come up with some really good practices on East, we'll try to implement them elsewhere on campus. But even if something works on East, just because of the sheer size of West we may not be able to share those practices on West. Still, it will be a starting point to think about a comprehensive plan for the entire University."
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