Bedroom locks to span all colleges

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Photo by Mclane Ritzel.

Davenport, Timothy Dwight and Pierson Colleges are the only colleges whose in-suite bedroom doors have no locks, but that will change this summer.

Nearly five years after a Yale College Council proposal called for bedroom-door locks, Yale Facilities will install locks in the final three residential colleges, John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, said in an email. Administrators approved the proposal in 2008, reasoning that room locks would enable students to better protect their belongings even if suite mates neglect to lock the door to the suite. Several students in Davenport interviewed said they favor the addition of bedroom locks in light of the string of burglaries in Davenport last fall.

Last week, Davenport students received an email from Barbara Munck ’84, a senior administrative assistant in Davenport, informing them of the upcoming lock installations and notifying them that Yale Lockshop staff would enter rooms to determine how many locks are needed. Munck added in an interview that student will not need additional keys since keys to suite doors will also open bedroom doors.

“The installation of room locks in all the colleges is nearly complete,” YCC president Brandon Levin ’13 wrote in an email. “We remain entirely supportive of the program and proud that it emerged from a 2007 YCC initiative.”

Administrators told the News in 2008 they had been concerned that bedroom locks would detract from the social experience of living in a suite, but a series of thefts that fall prompted them to change their stance.

When the project was approved in 2008, Meeske said the initiative could cost around $1 million in total and involve almost 2,000 doors. The first room locks were installed in Berkeley College, Silliman College and Arnold Hall during the summer of 2009.

Munck said that the initiative has been “phased in over several years” to spread out the financial burden. Yale also “built in” the costs of room locks into the budgets for the more recent residential college renovations, she said. As the project has progressed, administrators have also said complications with funding and fire codes delayed the installations.

Officials from Yale Facilities did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Computers and other electronic devices were stolen from the Davenport library, computer cluster and buttery this fall, which several students interviewed said made the need for bedroom locks more apparent.

“I can choose to be reckless and leave my door unlocked, but locking my door should be an option,” said Connor Kenaston ’14. “The University should do a better job providing students with the ability to secure their belongings.”

Alexandra Abarca ’13, who said her iPhone was stolen from the Davenport dining hall, said the theft made her “lose a lot of the sense of community that residential colleges work so hard to create.” Sophia Chen ’13 added that after the thefts, she and her suite mates are much more cautious when deciding whether or not to prop open the door to their suite.

Eighty-six percent of Yale undergraduates live in University housing.

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