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CSU locked bathoom key cards following peeping tom incident

A peeping tom incident in a community bathroom in Westfall Hall last semester led Housing and Dining Services to restrict residents’ proxy key card access to bathrooms not on their floor. 

Residents were notified of the key card access change 11 days after the incident via email. Some residents experienced restricted access up to two days prior to the email, following the peeping tom incident. Director of Residence Life, Laura Giles, and Director of Operations Management, Laura Alexander, explained in the email that key card access was limited to “bathroom access to the resident’s floor only.”

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Residents in Durward Hall received an email stating it had been “implemented in Durward as of Monday,” two days after their proxies had already been locked. Residents in Laurel Village received a similar email on the same day stating it “will be implemented in Laurel Village in the next day or two.”

Residents living in community style dorms were no longer able to access other floors bathrooms while theirs were being cleaned. The email from Alexander and Giles explained the preexisting access system, in which a log of bathroom entry was already provided for each floor, should issues arise.

Assistant Director of Residence Life John Malsam commented on the locking of proxies in an email to The Collegian.

“While we have received both positive feedback and some concerns from residents about this change in access, we must always make our residents’ safety our number one priority,” Malsam wrote.

Residents still had access to their floors bathroom of an opposite gender, to allow for guests.  

One potential resolution was the pairing of floor’s bathrooms. Proxy access would be widened to the floors immediately above or below students’ own floor. In a phone interview, Malsam explained why pairing floors is not possible. 

“(Bathroom) cleaning schedules are close together and schedules are posted for students to see and plan accordingly,” Malsam said. 

Bathroom cleaning schedules often happen during the morning, when students are waking up and getting ready for class. Breanna Lancaster, a residence assistant for the eleventh floor in Westfall Hall, spoke for her floor. 

“If people needed to use the restroom during our cleaning time … they would normally just go up or down one floor to use that restroom space,” Lancaster wrote in an email to the Collegian. “However, with the policy change, students were forced to either wait for the (staff) to be done cleaning and risk being late for various engagements or go to the 1st floor lobby to use the restroom/brush their teeth.” 

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Marianne Wieghaus, the associate director of Communications for Housing and Dining Services, wrote in an email to The Collegian part of the rationale behind the decision.

“This change still allows us to support access for guests and those of various gender identities while strengthening our safety and security protocol,” Wieghaus wrote. 

Collegian reporter Meagan Stackpool can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @meaganstackpool

 

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