Security guards employed by Temple University and those on contract from SpectraGuard posted at the entrances to campus buildings are there to check IDs. ID checks in part provide for safety in classrooms by helping keep out those who have no right to be there — if only IDs were checked consistently.
How often have you walked past a security post where a guard was reading the latest magazine or studying from a textbook?
Traffic in and out of Tuttleman, for example, seems impossible to regulate. The glass doors open into a grand hall where students and non-students alike can go where they please, deterred only by the curious glare of a single security guard who seems to watch indifferently.
Attributing blame to any specific agency of campus safety is incredibly difficult. Temple security officers, SpectraGuard employees and student workers are stationed around the campus. Simple observation of guards’ clothing, for example, can’t discern which guards are accountable to whom. Some security guards are Temple students and others hired on contract may have no connection to the university.
Flashing an ID and passing through the turnstile at Palely library seems like entering a maximum-security prison. But the appearance of strict security is not always as it seems. Without showing IDs many students – and strangers — could easily access Palely Library by signing in. And a short walk around the corner and through the Tuttleman entrance offers even more inconspicuous, unchecked access.
Security posts like those in Palely Library were instituted following an armed robbery in an Annenberg student lounge in 1995.
In 1997, SpectraGuard came under criticism when a Film major was maced in the basement floor of Annenberg. According to Temple police, perpetrators of both incidents were not Temple students.
Incidents like these spark fears that Temple is unsafe, and that negative reputation drives students away. Crime, or at least the perception of high crime rates, is the black eye of our university — and maybe for good reason.
Yes, showing ID can be a hassle. Maybe you want to dash to class without rummaging through your purse or wallet for some card with your goofy freshman smile on it. But this simple exercise may one day save your life or the life of someone else on campus.
How easy would it be for someone without an ID to enter Annenberg or Tuttleman with a weapon?
Signs on exits warning against letting strangers into campus buildings seem irrelevant when anyone can just stroll in the front door. The best-intentioned security policy serves no one if it is not enforced. The prescription is simple. When students notice that a guard posted is not checking IDs they should report that guard to Campus Safety Services.