Visitation rights restored to dorm halls

Lloyd Huff Jr., Staff Writer

The campus-wide residence hall visitation freeze was lifted Monday, Sept. 28 at 8 a.m. at the direction of Student Life Vice President Hal Payne and University Police, according to Director of Residence Life Michael Heflin.

“One of the things we found out was that the issue was not outside people breaking into the residence halls. We felt that the campus was safe, following the apprehension of the Sept. 13 armed robbery suspects,” Heflin said.

According to UPD Chief Peter Carey, UPD did not issue the residence hall freeze, but they made themselves available in case of an event where they needed to be present to enforce the freeze.

Heflin said that while they received calls from students and parents about the freeze, after explaining the freeze was in the interest of safety, people were very understanding.

Carey said Payne and other college administrators decided it was necessary to freeze visitation rights for a few days in order to limit access as a short-term safety measure.

According to United Students Government President Derek Jorden, the visitation freeze ended following a review of the residence halls and Resident Assistant (RAs) duties by USG and President Katherine Conway-Turner.

“President Conway-Turner wanted to be able to survey residence hall operations without notice to see if staff was performing their duties properly, and when she was satisfied after visiting the various residence halls, the freeze was lifted,” Jorden said.

However, the residence halls are not problem-free. The power outage on Oct. 3 raised concerns among students that they brought up to administration at Sunday’s town hall meeting. A North Wing Resident Assistant, that gave his name only as Mike, said that during a power outage, there is no consistent means for RAs to contact UPD in the event of an emergency. He suggested a PA system that would allow RAs to contact UPD if necessary.

Additionally, students at the town hall meeting expressed concern over poor lighting conditions in stairwells, and whether residence hall security cameras were functional during power outages.

Carey said that he did not know whether or not cameras were functional during power outages, but that he would find out.

“I’ve walked in the building a few times before, and there’s nobody at the desk, no Redshirts [UPSA] or RAs,” Tower 3 resident Daphnee Napolean said. “They might be at the bathroom or whatever, so it’s possible I just missed them. RAs are under a lot of pressure. It’s a hard job to do. And, of course the first few weeks are shaky, but I think it’s getting better. One thing I really noticed during the freeze is that they know who we are, and they always ask for IDs.”

Carey also commented on the recent armed robbery that took place near Upton Hall on Sept. 29.

“In regard to the Upton Quad armed robbery, we’re reviewing video surveillance, we’re interviewing people showing up in video to see if they have any knowledge that can assist us, we’re working with our victim to retrace her steps and have a timeline of activity that might help us look at other video footage to locate the suspect before or after and help us enhance our description of the suspect, because she was only able to give us a very general description,” Carey said.

UPD is not working with the Buffalo Police Department at this time, but they are working on getting a better description of the suspects. Carey said he would rather keep that information confidential for now “until we have some progress to release to the community or composites or photos of the suspects.”

 

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