Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Over the past several years, security has increasingly become a top concern at many of our nations institutions of higher learning. The administration at my medical school is "struggling to implement" measures that will create a safer environment for its faculty and students. Although we've been assured that changes have been made to make us safer, not much has been done as far as I can see, with the notable exception of the keypad locks on the study room doors. They say their biggest challenge is limiting access to the buildings, which are pretty much wide open to anyone in the community, while maintaining ease of movement between the the buildings by students and faculty. Personally, I feel they don't want to spend the money to hire more security staff.

Recent updates from the campus police have warned of an middle-aged man in dark clothing trying to steal unattended laptops and other electronics from lecture halls and study rooms. I've been studying A LOT at school this week (y'all know why), so I've been on the look out for this creep. I'm not going to lie: it's scary being here late at night with no one else around. Most of the time, the only sound is the air conditioning system and the crickets, which seem to have taken up residence here over the summer. Does the security guard (yes, I've only ever seen one at the front desk at night) ever come around to check on the lecture hall? No.

Not one hour ago, I saw a suspicious looking middle-aged man walk into the lecture hall. He didn't look familiar, but he may have been a student from another program looking for a place to study. Then again, from the look of his drawstring backpack, I doubt there were any heavy textbooks in there. He looked around the hall, took some leftover food from an early student meeting, and left.

Could this have been the creep described in the campus police alerts? Should I report the guy? Would security do anything about it?

If I see the guy again, I'll move over to the library, which is probably one of the more secure buildings on campus (you must sign in with university ID). On my way out, I'll interrupt the lone guard's TV watching by telling him that the creep may be in the building. For now, I'll just keep an eye out and hope that another classmate shows up to keep me company -- I've got to get these neoplastic and proliferative disorders of the hematopoietic and lymphoid systems down!


Enoreios said...

For some reason someone like this can be, (oddly), much more unnerving than having someone committing crimes in your neighborhood. I think it has to do with the presumption of safety in an academic setting vs. the appropriate awareness when you are walking down the street and someone asks if you want to buy drugs...

I remember, when I was in college, there was some guy sneaking into unlocked dorm rooms-- we later found that he was a student that had the door codes for entry-- and people would wake up with this guy staring at them. (Occasionally he'd touch them in, um, inappropriate ways before he ran away.)

Knowing that someone with access was out there in my semi-rural undergrad community bothered me much more than, say, the occasional assault or even shooting that takes place in my current urban neighborhood.

How strange.

As a long time mountaineer, I started sleeping with a retired, over sharpened ice axe on the far side of my bed, and all these years later I still do the same.

It came in handy once when my apartment was broken into at 3am, but that's another story...

DC Med Student said...

I'd invest in some kind of protection if I didn't believe that I would end up hurting myself instead of the creep trying to attack me.