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Editors Talk Campus Safety

Monmouth University is working to install deadbolt-style locks on the inside of classroom doors as a protective measure against incidents on campus. Most recently installed in the Jules L. Plangere Center for Communication and the Joan and Robert Rechnitz Hall, the deadbolt-style locks are intended to keep the campus community safe in case of an emergency.

 The locks, which cost approximately $45 each, are meant to increase safety and security on campus, along with the presence of the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD) security officers and other on-campus safety measures. While Mary Anne Nagy, the Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, said the locks were not a “direct response” to recent school shootings, she did say that violence on campus is something the University is always looking to prevent.

“I think the locks are a start to new innovations and technology that will make schools safer,” said one Outlook editor. “In the end, they are a step towards preventing random acts of violence.”

“I think this is more protective than preventative,” said one editor. “If someone is going to incite a heinous crime, they are unlikely to care about locks on the doors.”

 “There should be red flag laws and comprehensive background checks in order to prevent deranged people from obtaining guns. These deadbolts are just like putting sunblock on after you’re already sunburnt. It’s window dressing,” added another editor.

Some editors suggested that the University could also try to implement more solutions to create a safer campus. While they acknowledged that the school could only do so much, they felt there were safety measures that could be installed or increased. Recently, the University has installed a computer system, called Alertus, on all desktop computers, which allows users to alert MUPD and campus security of a threat; previously, phones were installed in all classrooms, which Nagy mentioned was now less effective due to the prevalence of personal cell phones.

Several other editors also agreed that the security may not be effective. Another suggestion included an increase in education about gun control could be helpful. Some believed that an emphasis on students speaking up might be helpful in the prevention of violent acts.

“I would definitely want to see more done in terms of making sure students have a way to speak up if they notice any issues, with certainty that any information will be investigated to a reasonable extent,” said one editor.

Another said that they believed that students and residential assistants (RAs) should be made more aware of what could qualify as alarming behavior.

Some editors also agreed that they thought the idea of installing deadbolts did not really address the larger issue of violence in schools and in the country at large.

“I think this is like putting a band-aid on the issue, since it’s a protective measure that’s kind of unrelated to the underlying issue,” said one editor. “If someone has a weapon with intent to do damage, there really isn’t any reason to believe that a deadbolt is going to stop them. It might be good for peace of mind, and I hope the day never comes where they are actually used, but I think it’s really the only thing that can be done that’s within the school’s power. The rest is up to people and the government.”

“This is simply having a plan for the occurrence of a violent act instead of attempting to stop the violent acts from happening,” said a third editor. “It is embarrassing and a joke that stricter gun laws have not been put into place in America. How many more people have to lose their lives or a loved one before a change is made?”