News

Lack of locks in some dorms reduce security, privacy

WHAT'S BEHIND THE DOOR: Some students are concerned that the lack of two-way bathroom locks could compromise their safety. CHELSEA MATIASH // Hurricane Staff

WHAT'S BEHIND THE DOOR: Some students are concerned that the lack of two-way bathroom locks could compromise their safety. CHELSEA MATIASH // Hurricane Staff

In Eaton, Mahoney and Pearson Residential Colleges, a bathroom separates many dorm rooms. Two pairs of suitemates live on either side of the bathroom, sharing a shower, two sinks and a toilet. While the front doors of each room have locks, the bathrooms do not.

Students have no control over whether their suitemates lock their front door – a situation that could potentially enable an intruder to enter one of the suite’s rooms and travel through the unlocked bathroom to the next room, many students say.

“If [my suitemates]leave their door unlocked, then someone can come into my room, too,” Aniruddha Krishna, a junior who has lived in Mahoney, said.

“When I first saw that there were no locks I was so shocked,” alumnus Violaine De L’Aulnoit said of her experience living in Pearson Residential College last year.  “How was I supposed to feel comfortable without a lock?”

After several incidents of students locking themselves in the bathrooms, the fire department mandated that the university remove the locks to be in compliance with fire safety issues.

Gilbert Arias, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, said the university regularly meets with the fire department regarding all buildings on campus and has hired a private company to inspect and certify all of the university’s fire and safety equipment.

“Safety is paramount in case of fire,” he said. 

But are the fire safety regulations jeopardizing students’ security and right to privacy?

“It’s dangerous if someone sketchy takes advantage of the fact that the rooms are connected and come into my room or while I’m in the bathroom,” said Ratcha Erpaiboon, a junior who lived in Pearson.

In January 2007, former UM student Michael Anthony Anderson was arrested for entering an unlocked Pearson suite and sexually assaulting the sleeping female victim. He was also accused of stealing some of her belongings before leaving.

Junior Dayna Candela said she doesn’t feel safe without locks.

“If anything, UM should have locks on the outside of the bathroom doors for when we go to sleep,” Candela said. “I feel more secure being able to lock my side of the bathroom.”

Candela also recalls an incident in which the lack of bathroom locks compromised her boyfriend’s privacy.

“[My suitemate] didn’t hear the shower turn off and had just walked in on my boyfriend [while he was using the shower],” Candela said.

Arias suggests that students set up “suite meetings” to discuss bathroom rules and guidelines or to set up a system so that everyone can use the bathroom comfortably, without the fear of being barged in on.

“Issues between roommates can be worked out,” he said.

Last year, Arias said there have been no cases of crime or theft due to unlocked doors on campus, but agrees it is a concern. “It’s never safe to leave doors open,” he said.

The bathrooms will remain without locks because there needs to be several ways to escape a fire, Arias said.

If the Coral Gables Fire Department agreed to it, Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, said she is “willing to explore new ideas” if students presented them.  One such idea is the installation of a lock on each side of the bathroom door that could be opened using a universal key that would be provided to each suitemate.

September 9, 2008

Reporters

Brook Frazier

Contributing Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Darrell Langham, the redshirt junior receiver who caused an uproar among Miami Hurricanes fans the p ...

This news release just in from the University of Miami, another impressive class about to be inducte ...

The University of Miami men’s basketball team got a welcome dose of good news on Monday night. Verno ...

After a disheartening week of practice injury-wise following the University of Miami’s victory at Fl ...

University of Miami’s highly-touted freshman Lonnie Walker, who had surgery for a torn right meniscu ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Darrell Langham has been a hero twice this season, but his path to prominence has been a long one. ...

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2018 inductees for the 50th A ...

Senior diver Wally Layland was recognized for her standout performance at the SMU Classic with ACC C ...

University of Miami freshman Lonnie Walker IV was among 20 players named to the watch list for the 2 ...

The Miami Hurricanes will begin preparation for the 2018 season when fall practice commences Wed., O ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.