Avi Asher-Schapiro (SFS ’10) said guards in East Campus never make anyone swipe their GOCard.

Another resident, Shane Hickey (SFS ’10), said that the LXR GOCard machine was often out of commission.

Winnie Kuo, an exchange student, said that there are too many hidden entrances to LXR Hall.

And Henri Minion (SFS ’10) said he has seen security guards asleep at their post.

Indeed, Saturday morning’s reported sexual assault has cast a spotlight on security in LXR – and across campus – causing students to come together in demanding security reforms that have been on their minds far before Saturday.

According to an e-mail from Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and Vice President for University Safety Rocco DelMonaco to LXR and Nevils residents, there will be at least one extra Department of Public Safety officer patrolling LXR until students move out, as well as an increase in regular MPD patrols of the area. They also reported that a broken GOCard swiper in the lobby of LXR was fixed yesterday, after they received repeated complaints from students over the past several weeks.

The e-mail also stated that the northeast and southeast courtyard doors allowing access into the LXR and Nevils courtyard can now only be used as emergency exits.

The incidents this weekend have prompted the university to revisit its contract with Securitas Services USA, Inc., which Georgetown hired to patrol LXR after a string of stolen property from the residence hall in 2005.

But with two burglaries reported the morning after the alleged assault, the effectiveness of the university’s heightened security efforts has been questioned.

Allison Mead (SFS ’10) and fellow LXR resident Kelly Scavone (COL ’10) co-wrote a petition to DPS on Sunday demanding immediate security changes in the East Campus residences, which was signed by 30 residents that night. Their list of grievances included the broken GOCard machine in LXR, sleeping or absent security guards, an inadequate communication system, unlocked or broken doors in the courtyard and unresponsive measures from campus security.

Although the Securitas guards were hired to boost security on the East Campus, many students have not been impressed by what they see as a sometimes lax level of vigilance.

Securitas supervisor Mo Odbes said that three Securitas officers are on duty at all times – one in the LXR lobby, one in the Walsh Building lobby and one roving guard who patrols Village A, Alumni Square, LXR and Walsh.

In addition, a Securitas officer patrols the Georgetown neighborhood in a car from 6 p.m. until 3 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Odbes said the two guards on desk duty at the time of the assault Saturday morning have been suspended, although the rover was not. He said one guard had worked at Georgetown for more than three years and the other for about two years.

The current staff of Securitas guards, Odbes said, has worked at Georgetown for an average of two to three years.

Securitas guards work eight-hour shifts from Monday to Friday and 12-hour shifts on the weekends, Odbes said. The two suspended guards were working eight-hour shifts, lasting from 11 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday.

The guard desks should be manned at all times, Odbes said. If a guard needs a bathroom break, the roving guard typically replaces him or her at the desk. If a guard is late for a shift, the guard on duty is required to stay until the next guard arrives.

The assault spurred students to voice a number of security concerns on the East Campus that they have held for a while before Saturday’s reported sexual assault.

“In the courtyard there is no surveillance, so things always seem to be broken out there,” Rachel Ellis (COL ’10) said.

Residents also reported that, over the past several months, several doors have been broken, hanging off the hinges or accessible without a swiping a GOCard. Soda cans have also been used to prop open side doors, highlighting the need for increased student safety precautions.

At least one student living in East Campus said that university administrators seem to be moving quickly to address security concerns.

“They’re taking it seriously. The question is how soon can they be fixed,” said Carter Lavin (SFS ’10), who took Olson, DelMonaco and another administrator to see the broken doors in the LXR/Nevils courtyard after a meeting they held at LXR Saturday night.

“They’re doing what they can at that moment,” he said. “I realize that we live in a place where there are risks everywhere. Although these complaints have been filed in the past, it’s taken until this for the university to realize how serious these complaints are.”

But still others have expressed disappointment with the university’s attempts at increasing security and the 11-hour delay between the incident and the public safety alert sent via e-mail to the Georgetown community.

“Our school didn’t alert people for [almost] 12 hours after. Our emergency system needs to be amped up,” Mead said. “I have the emergency system. Why didn’t I get a text message to say, `Lock your doors; there is an intruder’?”

“I know of at least four people on [the third] floor who aren’t sleeping here,” she said.

ead added that girls in her hallway are afraid to leave their rooms at night, even to go to the bathroom.

Scavone said she never felt unsafe at Georgetown until this weekend.

“It took something like this to raise awareness,” Scavone said. “What affects East Campus affects everyone.”

– Hoya Staff Writer Julia Cai contributed to this report.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.