A large wave of campus visitors and a number of unlocked buildings caused the Yale and New Haven Police Departments to step up security efforts during the weekend’s inaugural events.
YPD officers were dispatched throughout the University to monitor on-campus activity, while NHPD forces were on hand to reinforce large-scale events like the Hillhouse Ave. block party that took place on Sunday after the inauguration ceremony. Police presence was stationed around campus throughout the weekend, watching prominent campus buildings and event sites. Despite the increased crowds on campus this weekend, Janet Lindner, the University’s associate vice president for administration, said that there were no major incidents of crime reported.
The YPD made forces available for all events, not only for the events that drew the biggest crowds.
“No single event was of the highest priority, as we plan for these large scale events holistically, seeing each event as part of the whole weekend,” Lindner said. “We organize for the entire weekend when we develop an operational plan.”
Though the NHPD’s forces were on campus to support YPD efforts, the weekend’s security was mainly a YPD issue, department spokesman David Hartman said.
For most of Saturday afternoon, several campus gates were left unlocked to allow outside visitors to attend tours and open house events through the University’s laboratories, libraries and other facilities. This meant that individuals without card access could freely enter normally restricted areas, so Yale security and YPD officers were on hand to prevent theft and trespassing. One of Saturday’s featured events was the Residential College Open House for which common spaces — but not entryways — were left open to guests.
The open house caused some masters to warn students to take extra precaution.
“The college will have extra security during the open house, but it is incumbent on you to keep the doors that should be locked, locked,” Amy Hungerford, the master of Morse College, said in an email to Morse students in anticipation of the event.
Even though campus has not been open for an inauguration in 20 years, the weekend’s schedule proceeded “smoothly,” according to Lindner.
Lindner added that though the events of the weekend encouraged New Haven residents and visitors to tour campus, Yale is well equipped to handle large-scale events.
“Yale and New Haven police worked in close concert this weekend, as they do at Commencement and all other major events on campus,” Lindner said. “We regularly plan for delegations, large and small, to visit campus.”
Unlike the activities for non-Yale visitors, some events like Saturday night’s inauguration ball required students to show Yale identification before they could gain entry onto Old Campus for the dance.
Four students interviewed said that they felt safe and that the added security presence did not affect their enjoyment of the weekend.
“I didn’t feel threatened at all. I didn’t actually think about security, but I did remember seeing that there were police officers everywhere,” Kenneth Gunasekera BK ’15 said.
Chihiro Isokazi TC ’15 said that she was very careful not to leave valuables like her laptop laying around in public areas, but acknowledged that doing so should be standard even when campus is less busy. Isokazi also said that having New Haven residents on campus this weekend was a positive addition to the inauguration.
Lindner is responsible for operational areas including police, security and parking.