No Plans to Expand Walsh Check-in Desk

Walsh Hall will remain the only residence hall with a security-staffed check-in desk in the near future, administrators have said.

“There are currently no plans to expand the program,” said John King, director of Public Safety and chief of the BCPD. “The Walsh Hall project is still in a trial phase to give us more of an opportunity to see how effective the program could be.”

The check-in desk was installed in the fall of 2010 to test whether such a program would be effective in Boston College residence halls. During its first year, the desk operated from Thursday afternoons at 5 p.m. to Sunday mornings at 5 a.m., in an effort to prevent individuals without authorization from accessing the hall.

For the 2010-2011 school year, any student with a BC I.D. could swipe into the building between those hours, and non-BC students could enter the building if signed in by a Walsh Hall resident.

This year, the program has been slightly changed to a new 24/7 schedule, as opposed to the limited hours of 2010. Furthermore, the check-in desk is subject to the same swipe-in policies as other halls, where students in the same residential community can access the building, but students from other residential communities must be given access by residents of Walsh.

Patrick Rombalski, vice president for student affairs, echoed King’s sentiments. “In regard to the future, we have no current plan to expand the program with the one exception of the new residence hall proposed to be built at 2150 Commonwealth Avenue,” Rombalski said in an e-mail.

The 2150 Comm. Ave. residence hall will begin construction after the demolition of More Hall in the spring of 2012, and is expected to be ready for occupancy by 2014.

While the success of such a program in barring unwanted visitors is difficult to measure, King said he believes the program was successful during its first trial year. “Last year, there was a significant reduction in vandalism in Walsh Hall,” he said. However, King also admitted the program has needed changes.

“The program is going well, though we did recently hear that we might need to look into a better process for when students have lost their I.D.s but need access to Walsh,” King said. “We don’t want students who should legitimately be able to get into Walsh not to be able to, simply because they lost their I.D.”

King said that his office and the Office of Residential Life are always open to suggestions. “If there are ways we could improve the program we’d love to hear them, we’re always open to student feedback,” he said.

“Our interest is in student safety and this program was instituted to contribute to community safety,” King said.

November 20, 2011