Bedroom locks to span all colleges

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.


  • rammedearth

    Now, let me see, and please correct me if I’m wrong. There are locks on the gates; there are locks on the entry doors; there are locks on the suite doors; there are locks on the bathroom doors; and in nine colleges, there are locks on the bedroom doors. At least, in contrast to Alcatraz, the inmates hold the keys, until they lose them, misplace them, loan them out, have them stolen, neglect to use them. Can anyone tell me whether the incidences of theft, date rape, and other petty and felonious activities have disappeared completely in those nine colleges?

    Last June, I stayed, for a few nostalgic days, with other members of my class in Davenport. The resourceful and/or forgetful, Old Blues propped doors open, forgot keys and locked themselves out (I raise my hand), and may have been burgled or date-raped, for all I know, so the locks may be very necessary rather than merely the truth of the proposition That “Just because your paranoid, it doesn’t mean someone isn’t following you.”

    • ds747

      date rape = “petty and felonious activities”????

  • Branford73

    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 graduated from Yale a long time ago, so maybe my powers of logic have faded. How does a lock on the bedroom door prevent thefts from the library, computer cluster and buttery?

    rammed’s point about all the other layers of locks is a bit lost with his “date rape” comments, since locks would have no effect on a problem of a date let into the room voluntarily, who then decides to force himself on the woman. If theft is rampant one wonders how many non-Yalies or their friends getting past the supposedly secured gates of the colleges and then past the suite doors which already have locks. Are students stealing from each other more often than before?

    The portability of valuable (and readily marketable) devices like laptops and smart phones has made theft easy, so perhaps the locks will help. Typewriters and desk top computers were harder to tuck under the arm and thus harder to steal.

    • purple

      “How does a lock on the bedroom door prevent thefts from the library, computer cluster and buttery?”

      It doesn’t. The point is that those thefts made apparent the fact that theft is present in the residential colleges and that students should have the option of securing their own possessions if they want.

  • silliwin01

    How was not having locks on bedroom doors ever an acceptable solution?

  • River_Tam

    Who thought that building bedrooms without locks was a good or even passably decent idea?

  • phantomllama

    Truly shocking that bedrooms ever lacked locks. And amazing that a few years ago administrators invented bizarre excuses to stop their installation. But it’s good to see that they will be in place soon.

  • ycollege14

    I for one have had serious problems with my suitemates using my single without asking, taking food from my room, and using other personal items. Locks on bedroom doors are absolutely necessary for privacy reasons, especially if you have a significant other sleeping over and don’t want to be walked in on, which was a serious concern for me because I felt like I could never be sure when a suitemate was going to pop into my room bc they thought I wasn’t there.