Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Campus leadership works to implement safety measures

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Ashley Hamons
Many of Calvin’s blue safety phones are out of order.

Following the tragedy at Michigan State University on February 13, 2023, Calvin has taken steps to protect students. The biggest change immediately following the aftermath of the shooting was to lock academic buildings beginning at 6 p.m. each day, allowing students in only once they scanned their IDs.

This change “was initially met with student and faculty support,” but “that support has since faded due to fewer study spaces being offered,” according to Student Senate Vice President of Operations Justus Young. This loss of support was reflected in responses to the Student Senate surveys taken earlier this semester, as “many students had greater concerns about community and study spaces than safety on campus.”

However, safety is still a primary concern for the Student Senate, according to Young, and they are working closely with the administration on several items including issues of lighting, internal locking mechanisms and training videos. 

Over the past semester, the Student Senate has worked on determining where new lights are needed on campus through collecting data, researching and using night drone footage to find “dead zones” where lighting is needed, Young explained. There are plans to bring these new lighting options in the upcoming semester. 

Visser said that the university is also “in the middle of updating the blue safety poles around campus.”

Other measures Calvin has taken in response to school and university shootings include the purchase and installment of magnets over door jams, preventing a locked door from clicking into place. While in place, these magnets allow a door to be easily used and pushed open –– but in an unsafe situation, they can be quickly removed and the door will lock. This ensures the door locks without a user struggling with the locking mechanism. Campus Safety is currently working towards applying these magnets to each classroom door, according to Young. 

Executive Vice President for Student Experience and Strategy, Sarah Visser, told Chimes, “The magnetic strips offer us an economical and temporary solution that will increase classroom safety as we bridge to the longer-term solution of replacing internal door locks for internal spaces that need them.”

In the future, the administration hopes to replace classroom doors with doors that already have internal door locks. The only problem is that these doors are expensive, costing around $3000 per door. Regardless, “our goal is to eventually ensure that every classroom space on campus could be secured from the inside,” Visser said. 

Finally, in an effort to educate faculty and students about reactions to potentially dangerous situations, the “Student Senate has been asked to help create training videos in regard to the new locks, active shooters and a myriad of other training materials,” Young told Chimes; this is being done in conjunction with Campus Safety. 

However, as Calvin’s campus is changing, Young said there is a “simultaneous understanding that there is not one solution that will make students feel safer. There is an understanding that this will take time, new ideas and energetic minds and we are excited to invite a future where we positively impact the way students view safety on campus.”

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