Julia Garrison

News Editor

Propped doors and unlocked houses have been a mainstay at The College of Wooster – an unfortunate truth that has recently been the concern of the department of campus safety. With some recent issues across campus in both academic and residential spaces, campus safety has begun to increase their security patrolling across campus, which was relayed in a statement released to the campus community on Jan. 18 by Interim Director of Campus Safety Kevin Cooper.

In the correspondence, Cooper relayed that campus safety officers will be increasing their patrols in not only residential spaces, but also academic and administrative buildings through all hours of the day. Residential halls and smaller houses are included in this patrolling; however, smaller houses will not be patrolled after 11:00 p.m. and will not be entered unless there is a specific need to do so. Residential halls, however, will see officers doing walkthroughs at all times of the day.

“I want the community to understand why they might encounter an officer walking through their building at night – it’s for your safety,” explained Cooper in a correspondence with the Voice. “This presence not only provides peace of mind but also creates an opportunity for positive interactions between students and officers.”

Many doors have been placed on watch by campus safety after being identified as not adequately secure. Cooper said that this was due to a number of reasons, one being the harsh change in weather over the last couple of weeks on campus which caused doors to expand. 

An incident recently in Luce Hall also sparked concern in relation to doors being left ajar across campus – a concerned student reported that a member outside of the campus community was seen inside a common area in the residential space. The individual left the building before an officer arrived and could not be identified. Cooper said that because of this, campus safety could not determine whether this individual was or was not a member of the campus community.

“The student acted appropriately by not confronting the individual and safely removing themselves from the area while notifying us,” said Cooper. “However, this incident underscores the importance of not propping doors open and taking a moment to ensure that doors close behind you.” Cooper hopes that this begins to get the ball rolling for community members to become safety-savvy by understanding the importance of securing your surroundings.

Alongside residential spaces, Cooper also explained in his campus-wide correspondence that safety officers will be patrolling academic and administrative buildings at times throughout the days and nights. No further comment was provided on what might have caused the uptick in security of these spaces.

Cooper explained how students can go about fixing any security breaches that they might notice across campus. Students can remove any objects propping doors open and ensure that it closes and locks securely. If the door cannot be secured, students should notify campus safety. Cooper also explained that students should find a safe area and notify campus safety immediately if they encounter an unfamiliar individual attempting to enter a residential space without a keycard or a key, or within any residential building late at night. “The collaborative effort of the community plays a crucial role in maintaining a secure campus environment,” Cooper said.

“I have recognized the importance of transparency in our efforts to uphold the safety and security of our campus,” Cooper said. He has held the interim position of director of campus safety while also being a candidate for the full-time position as director. “Improving communication plays a pivotal role in building a stronger relationship between our office and the community we serve.” 

Cooper wants community members to not only continue to understand the operations of campus safety and recognize why officers are entering residential spaces, but also raise awareness about safety breaches or issues, which includes accidentally “granting access to unfamiliar individuals.”

“It is essential that we collectively take responsibility to prevent unauthorized access, particularly in non-public areas like residential spaces,” Cooper said. The office of campus safety is located at Culbertson/Slater Complex on Wayne Ave., and can be reached via their telephone numbers 330-287-3333 or 330-263-2590 or email campus-safety@wooster.edu, or through the RAVE Guardian app.

Written by

Julia Garrison

Julia Garrison is the News Editor for the Wooster Voice. From Morgantown, West Virginia, she is an English and Global Media and Digital Studies double major with a pathway in digital and visual storytelling. At Wooster, she covers administrative and faculty news. She also designs visuals for stories.