The Clarion asked Director of Risk Management, Safety and Security Zach Hill and Bethel students about their thoughts regarding the new security procedures enforced this year.
By: Lindsey Micucci and Emily Jan
Clarion: We are looking for more information on the new procedures that have been implanted this school year.
Hill: As a security team, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of all students, faculty, and staff as well as guests on our campus. We are making gradual changes within the security department so that we can provide an appropriate level of security for the community we serve.
Starting this academic year when the campus is closed (9 p.m. – 5:30 a.m.), we are requiring everyone to show identification. This includes all guests even if they are with a community member. We are also requiring all deliveries and cab services to be registered prior to gaining access to campus. They can be registered on our website or by calling 651.638.6400. We have temporarily shut down the other lane while the community adjusts to the new gate procedures. We will open it again after everyone has fully adjusted to the new policies, but the lane will be subject to closure at various times.
When we are closed, we want to ensure that all people arriving on campus are authorized guests. This will also allow us to ensure that we have an accurate account of who is on campus in the event of an emergency after hours.
Clarion: Any comment on the strictness of parking violations compared to the lenient ways of last academic year?
Hill: As most of the Bethel community is aware, on-campus parking can be difficult throughout the day. Last year we only ticketed cars when there were complaints. This more relaxed approach led to an increase in parking infractions that in the end made parking even more difficult on campus. After meeting with student government and hearing concerns from community members regarding parking and safety in the lots, we decided it was best to begin ticketing again.
In the past fines were not published on tickets and various warnings were given for each offense. After researching what other colleges and universities are doing, we adjusted our fines and warning system to meet the industry standard. Our goal is not to create a burden or unnecessary hardships for our students. However, we need to standardize ticketing in order to address the greater parking concerns across campus.
Over the summer we revised the parking permit process. Changes include: one permit color per parking lot, which will help separate resident parking from the commuter lots, and allow us to count the spaces more accurately. In other words, we can better ensure that we are only issuing as many permits as there are spaces and that the system is simpler to use. However, in order for this system to work, we cannot be as lenient as we have been in the past.
Clarion: Other than these, are there any other new security procedures that students should be aware of?
Hill: We are working on building a proactive and holistic security department that is focused on being involved in all aspects of campus life. The security department has a limited amount of people and we depend on the students and staff we serve to work with us in achieving excellence. We need your partnership in making this a safe and inviting environment for everyone.
Josh Raabe, relational communication major, junior
“I took the guys on my floor out to eat, I had six guys in my car. I got to the gate and they had to check every single ID even though I have the parking pass on my car. It just wastes time. I think the new gate procedure is a little unnecessary. I do like that they’re thinking about us, trying to prevent things from happening, but it’s a mixed bag – half of the guards check, half of them don’t.”
Maggie Miller, psychology major, senior
“If I was not graduating this year, I think I would have left this university. I am sick and tired of all the restrictions. I am not living the typical college experience. While I am more than happy to be living on a campus that is safe and secure, there should be more leniency with some of the rules. It would keep more students on campus. I don’t think it will affect incoming students because they would have not idea what the past was like. Though it created a larger amount of students who will transfer after the first year or semester.”
Grace Arel, communication and digital humanities major, junior
“I haven’t been drastically affected by these new procedures, but I hear about and see others being affected. I see cars being ticketed outside my dorm window basically everyday. But the biggest change is the procedure for entering campus when the gate is closed- now all passengers are required to show ID. I’ve heard a lot of students express their frustration with these extra security procedures because they seem unnecessary.”
Brittanie Blume, psychology major, freshman, commuter
“One day, I left for lunch and there were no spots when I got back so I had to park on the diagonal yellow lines (where your not allowed to park) and my car had a ticket when I came back after class. Bethel doesn’t have enough parking spots. It’s frustrating. I should be able to come back from lunch and not be late for my class, especially when I’m only gone for 15 minutes to grab lunch.”