University begins installing bedroom locks

Nearly two years after the Yale College Council first proposed the measure, the administration has begun to install locks on bedroom doors in residential colleges.

In an effort to increase security within the colleges, Yale Facilities installed locks on nearly 389 doors in Berkeley College, Silliman College and Arnold Hall this summer. Individual door locks were also included in the Calhoun College renovation.

Berkeley, Silliman and Calhoun colleges were provided with locks for individual bedrooms this year; JE and Branford will receive locks next summer.
Berkeley, Silliman and Calhoun colleges were provided with locks for individual bedrooms this year; JE and Branford will receive locks next summer.

Each lock costs between $120 and $180, and the locks purchased this summer cost a total of around $56,000, Norman Brody, the associate director of locks facilities, said.

A series of petty thefts in 2007 prompted the YCC to pass a resolution calling for the installation of locks on individual bedroom doors within suites, in addition to the locks already present on suite doors. In March 2008, the administration approved the resolution but difficulty securing the funding, as well as logistical issues with fire codes and coordinating with residential college masters’ offices, led to over a year of delay.

All newly renovated colleges will have individual locks, Council of Masters Chair Jonathan Holloway said. In addition, facilities plans to install locks in Branford and Jonathan Edwards colleges next summer when students are out of the rooms. Beyond this, the administration does not know the order in which locks will be added to colleges, though locks have been approved for all 12.

“It was a lot of hardware,” Brody said. “Master keying is kind of a hard exercise.”

The five colleges whose installations are currently unscheduled are Davenport, Pierson, Timothy Dwight, Trumbull and Saybrook.


  • Hieronymus

    I would venture that door locks have more to do with the upcoming (and perhaps inevitable) move to co-ed rooming rather than concerns over “petty theft.” (Had petty theft been the concern, then locks would have been installed during New Haven’s crime heydays of the ’70s and ’80s).

    If, indeed, door locks are related to co-ed rooming, doesn’t it seem interesting that individual security on a massive scale (i.e., each and every bedroom) is suddenly of concern? Given the pure utopia of co-ed rooming (as espoused by its proponents) is Yale’s administration being curmudgeonly or… realistic?

  • @ Hieronymous

    Not really.

    I would say that your indictment of the supporters of gender neutral housing as idealistic is perhaps a bit faulty. Most advocates were suggesting that — with the coming incorporation of bedroom locks — the shift to gender neutral housing would not be a substantive change from the status quo given that a gender neutral suite in, say, Branford post the incorporation of locks would be no different from a current gender neutral hallway of singles in Morse or Stiles.

    Also, your historical argument is a bit debunked by the existence of locks on the doors of Swing Space. I venture to say that it has always been on the University’s minds, but never enough of an issue — e.g. among students — that they made it a priority to commit funding to it. However, when constructing a wholly new building, that they incorporate locks into the doors there is perhaps indicative that — when the money is available — the locks are installed.

  • @Hieronymus

    Personally, I’m much more concerned about my iPod and camera, and my suitemate’s laptop, that were taken out of our bedrooms last year than about boys coming into my room.

  • wizah

    And how many of these doors will still be propped open all year? It really doesn’t make a difference if everyone else in the dorm opens every entryway and leaves it open.

  • Anon

    It’s absurd that Yale has taken this long to address what is simply a personal safety issue. It’s not just about property. If cost is such an issue, I’ll make sure to earmark my next contribution for dorm locks!

  • Hieronymus

    You of course, then, support gated communities?

    I understand the points made; however, I still believe y’all are being disingenuous.

    Unless, of course, you are selectively classist when it comes to the liberation of so-called “property” by the oppressed peoples of New Haven?

    Interestingly, I have been burglarized twice while in New Haven, but I never thought that locks on the bedroom door was the solution…

    Full disclosure: I am not against co-ed cohabitation; I am against university-wide imposition of said policy.

  • Doug LLrwellyn

    Locks are for honest people.

  • Anon

    It makes no sense, none whatsoever, that there are no locks on individual doors. You’d think an institution of this caliber would do whatever necessary to ensure security. What’s the point of having billions of dollars when basic things such as locks on doors aren’t addressed? Pathetic.

  • @ Hieronymus

    “Full disclosure: I am not against co-ed cohabitation; I am against university-wide imposition of said policy.”

    I’m afraid I can’t quite figure out what you mean. Is your stance equivalent to: “I’m not opposed to gay marriage; I am against countrywide imposition of said policy”? Or are you for some reason afraid that Yale will FORCE all students to live in mixed-gender suites?

  • From The Past


    In the early 80s at least, the University apparently had little enough money to even stop leaks in rooms when it rained, much less install more room locks … I can still recall the persistent drip drip drip into various countainers in rooms in Pierson in the early 80s.

    Though there was petty crime, the real crime concern in the early 80s was getting mugged while walking around outside.

    Locks on bedrooms were not even a serious consideration at least among the administrators and students I knew.

  • Yale grad

    Ha! I made the mistake of clicking on a comment thread on the YDN, only to find… yet another thread hijacked by the bizarre, irrelevant political musings of “Hieronymus.”

    Please, everybody, stop feeding this troll. The suggestion that room locks have to do with coeducation or with gender-neutral housing or whatever is too stupid to merit a response.

    Anyway, there’s no need to speculate about this one: if you read the actual article, you’ll discover that the YCC has been pushing for door locks for couple of years, and (ahem) we do not have gender-neutral housing at Yale, nor did we have it in 2007, so this groundswell of demand must have come from something we actually do have on campus, for example, the wave of petty thefts in 2007 discussed in the article. This is not rocket science.

    In any event, the whole idea that Yale would be forcing anyone to live with someone of the opposite sex is extremely implausible. I just can’t take this proposition seriously. Are we really supposed to believe that Yale is going to assign freshman boys and girls to live together? Not. Gonna. Happen.

    As for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, hello? _We_ decide who we live with. Yale doesn’t force us to live with anyone, period, let alone someone of a different gender. And surely Yale students are sensible enough not to choose suitemates (of any gender) of whom they’re so scared that they would want to keep ‘em out of their room with a lock! Let’s hope that anyone who uses their room lock to protect themselves from their suitemates gets some help, pronto, from their dean, and moves out. Agreed? (I guess I just broke my own rule, and fed the troll. Sorry.)

    It’s frustrating that so many YDN comment threads have to be given over to this kind of silliness.

  • From The Past

    Yale Grad — I agree with you wholeheartedly, but for the part where you say we “Please, everybody, stop feeding this troll …The suggestion that room locks have to do with coeducation or with gender-neutral housing or whatever is too stupid to merit a response,” and then proceed to provide the most lengthy (though very sensible) response to “the bizarre, irrelevant political musings of ‘Hieronymus.'”

  • Hieronymus

    Yes, and Van Jones was smeared…

    “In any event, the whole idea that Yale would be forcing anyone to live with someone of the opposite sex is extremely implausible…”


    Here’s my very first Google hit:

    “Freshman Paige Walz glanced around at her new dorm room and stopped. “This,” she thought, “is kinda weird.”

    On one bed were her bright pink sheets and purple pillow. Good so far. On the other side of the room? Oversized basketball jerseys and sneakers, also quite large. Lots of gray and black clothes. About then, Walz, 19, had her omigod moment: “I’m rooming with a guy!” she realized. “This has to be a mistake.”

    So, UPenn, Stanford, but–somehow–not dear Yale?

    Wake. Up.

  • Don’t Ask!

    I understand that for hermaphrodites (hiermaphrodites sp?) the issue of being forced to live with one of the opposite sex is a constant … uh, companion … of dorm life…

  • Oh Leland

    Uh, that “very first Google hit,” you know, the one with Paige. Well that’s from the “Samford” (not Stanford) “Crimson”…
    Is that the article or is there one at Stanford also?

    So, I guess it’s: “So, UPenn, SAMFORD, but–somehow–not dear Yale?” SAMFORD is after all, the “Largest privately-supported institution for higher learning in Alabama”

    And I would note in this vein, the stirring article in the same SAMFORD Crimson paper on SAMFORD biz students “successfully” controlling a portion of the SAMFORD endowment. “SAMFORD but–somehow–not dear Yale?” Don’t believe it’s not coming Yale trustees!

  • Hieronymus



    Nice try. The *quote* was from my first google; I was responding to the comment that “forcing anyone to live with a member of the opposite sex is extremely implausible.” On my first google attempt, I found that “force” is not implausible.

    I then went on to make a short list of Yale’s peers that have already gone ahead with coed plans and, indeed, Stanford is a leader:

    The key piece (please note my accurate use quotation marks):
    “A few weeks later, I called my daughter at Stanford to see how her course selection had worked out for the winter quarter. “And how’s the new room?” I asked. She had told us over Christmas break that her current dorm — a “co-op,” where the students cook and clean for themselves — required students to change rooms every quarter.

    That’s how it began. And, as I explained to my astounded mother-in-law when the dust had settled, it just got worse and worse.

    “She’s sharing a room with one other girl and two boys,” I said.

    “You mean a suite.”

    “No,” I said. “I mean a bedroom.”

    My mother-in-law couldn’t believe it.

    “But wait,” I said. “It gets worse. She didn’t ask for this room arrangement. She missed the room meeting because she had a friend visiting from the East Coast. She appointed a proxy, and said she wanted a room with no smoking and no sex in the room, but she didn’t ask for a single-sex room.””

  • Oh Leland

    “Living in a co-ed room at Stanford is entirely optional.”

    If you had any research skills you would have found the following. From a New York Times blog re you “key piece” (if what, it will become clear):
    “In her comment, the younger Ms. Morin confirms much of what our readers have suspected, namely that this matter is more a dispute between mother and child than between student and Stanford. The younger Ms. Morin writes:

    ‘This conflict has very little to do with Stanford and gender-neutral housing. Is has everything to do with my parents having a hard time adjusting to the fact that I’m out of the house (I’m the oldest), I’m 3,000 miles away, and -especially- that I’m a liberal agnostic while they are conservative Catholics. The NR really should have looked into this situation a little bit before publishing that article.'”

    What the actual student involved says:
    “1. Living in a co-ed room at Stanford is entirely optional. I certainly knew that there was a possibility of living in one in my house. I could easily have chosen not to live in the house and/or not to live in a co-ed room. Also, no freshmen live in any of the co-ops.”

    So either 1) you are extremely poor at research (which you quotation of the SAMFORD bit might indicate) or 2) you found the Times piece cited at concealed your finding. Nice bit of “research” (note my correct use of quotation marks, here) there on supposedly compulsory coeducation.

    Your “link”, supposed citation, does not work, by the way.

    You, my dear Hieronymus, are still stuck with … SAMFORD.

  • Hieronymus

    Yale has denied rooming wishes in the past; you think they will not in the future?

    “[F]ive Orthodox Jewish students at Yale filed a lawsuit against the college. The students believe that Yale’s gender-integrated campus dormitories are incompatible with the moral requirements of Orthodox Jewish life, and they are asking to be exempted from Yale’s rule requiring freshmen and sophomores to live in dormitories. Yale has refused, claiming the on-campus requirement is essential to the Yale experience.”

    [BTW: As you know, Yale’s dorm bathrooms have long been “integrated”; why is it that classroom/research/library buildings still have sex-segregated bathrooms?]

    As Yale moves ever-leftward, I have little doubt that co-ed coercion will become the norm.

    I state again: I am not against co-ed rooming per se (indeed, any dolt that can’t figure a workaround is pretty weak); it is the top-down policy, of forced “norming” that bothers me (working off my previous parenthetical, it is obvious to me that those crying loudest for co-ed rooming, knowing full well that it is fairly easy to arrange, have political rather than personal goals; unless of course they are indeed dolts, which is possible).

  • Oh, Leland … and Ben

    In #13, Hieronymus claims to dispute the statement by Yale grad in #11, that, “In any event, the whole idea that Yale would be forcing anyone to live with someone of the opposite sex is extremely implausible,” citing as supposed examples, the Univ. of Pennsylvania (“Penn”) and Stanford as support (“So, UPenn, Stanford, but–somehow–not dear Yale?” Hieronymus at #13.) Hieronymus states as much in #15: “Nice try. The *quote* was from my first google; I was responding to the comment that ‘forcing anyone to live with a member of the opposite sex is extremely implausible.’”
    Yet, despite Hieronymus’ assertions that these schools somehow act as examples implying the plausibility of “forced” gender neutral housing, NEITHER Stanford NOR Penn “force” anyone to live with a member of the opposite sex. Any such rooming is voluntary at each school.
    First, there can no longer be any dispute that: “Living in a co-ed room at Stanford is entirely optional,” the assertions of no choice about gender neutral rooming from the National Review opinion piece cited by Hieronymus as support for his assertions regarding “force” being without any basis whatsoever in fact. See also Stanford Housing:
    “How does the program work?
    Students must state that they commit to the gender-neutral rooming option.
    Students must have a specific roommate or roommates in mind prior to the in-house draw, and that roommate must contact the RSAS individually to confirm that they also want to share the room or apartment.”
    Second, a simple review of documents available on-line demonstrates that Penn’s gender neutral housing is also entirely voluntary. According to Penn Housing:
    “Gender Neutral Housing
    Only upperclass and graduate students 18 years of age or older may apply. Traditional freshmen are not eligible.
    Students must identify their own roommates and they must be able to fill all the beds in the room being requested. Roommate requests must be mutual.”
    And finally, the “University of Pennsylvania Gender Neutral Housing Agreement” states in pertinent part:
    Please read the following guidelines for gender neutral housing and sign below to acknowledge your agreement.
    1. All roommates must be upperclass students, at least 18 years of age, and eligible for University housing.
    2. Applicants must fill the room being requested, i.e., there must be a prospective roommate applying for every bed in the unit.”
    Does the fact that neither of the examples cited by Hieronymus support Hieronymus’ claim that: “’force’ is not implausible?” I would suggest that it doesn’t, however, this thread demonstrates that the answer apparently depends on whether you are, in the words of Yale grad, a “troll” who posts “bizarre, irrelevant political musings.”