In response to recent security concerns in Davenport College, Davenport Dean Craig Harwood is urging students to take a more active role in safeguarding their community.
Following the theft of a Davenport student’s laptop and an early-morning fire alarm after a student inappropriately discharged a fire extinguisher in the basement, Harwood asked college residents to lock suite doors and be more judicious when letting other students into the college.
The fire alarm went off at 3 a.m. Friday after a fire extinguisher was discharged in a basement trash room below entryway C, Harwood said in an e-mail. Although Harwood was unavailable for comment, he said in the e-mail that the person who set off the alarm was most likely not a Davenport student.
“I’m not sure that it would be possible to note everyone who comes in and out of the dorms, but I wanted you to be aware of the situation and encourage you to take as much responsibility as possible for who enters the dorms,” he said.
Some students said they object to the idea of monitoring guests as they enter and exit colleges. Rebecca Taber ’08, a Davenport student who lives in entryway C, said she thinks Davenport is generally a safe place and that there is no need for the University to institute a security program like those at some other urban universities.
At New York University, for example, security guards are stationed in front of dorm entrances, requiring guests to register as they enter and exit the building. Instituting a similar system at Yale, Taber said, would be ineffective and a nuisance.
“I’ve visited NYU, and the system really makes it difficult to visit friends,” she said. “Also, I think most problems come from other students, not from random New Haven [residents] breaking in.”
Yale Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said there are no plans to implement a monitoring program similar to ones at other urban campuses such as NYU.
“A system like that has its advantages, but we [tend] to rely on members of the community to take that responsibility,” she said.
In the e-mail, Harwood also cautioned Davenport students not to exchange convenience for security by propping open suite doors. The student whose laptop was stolen, he said, had left his suite door unlocked.
But Davenport’s problem is not unique on campus. Several other residential college deans said unlocked doors contribute to most campus theft. Branford College Dean Thomas McDow said unlocked suite doors are the most common reason for theft in Branford. These thefts, he said, would be easily avoidable if students took the time to lock their doors before they leave.
“Students assume [their possessions] are safe by being in their suites, but, in fact, that isn’t the case,” he said.
Yale reported 82 incidents of theft and burglary on campus in its 2004 University-Wide Report on Campus Security, the most recent report available.