Anyone can walk into Barton Hall.
The Main Campus physical science building does not boast any sort of security desk or entrance checkpoint whatsoever. When the building’s doors are unlocked, virtually any human being in the North Philadelphia area can waltz into the structure unhindered, from tenured professor to would-be burglar.
However, Barton Hall is not the building that was approved for security upgrades on March 5.
Last week, the Facilities Committee of the Board of Trustees recommended a $287,000 increase in spending to beef up security in Anderson and Gladfelter Halls. The upgrades come as a direct response to a break-in that occurred in Anderson Hall on Oct. 29.
Ancillary doors will be outfitted with equipment designed to delay unauthorized exits from each building, in an attempt to prevent unauthorized personnel from sneaking into their multiple unguarded doorways. It is believed that the suspect who entered Anderson Hall in October and assaulted a faculty member entered through a door that was not guarded by security.
Of course, the university must keep abreast of security issues when they arise, and the October break-in exposed a massive flaw in security on Main Campus – many of Anderson and Gladfelter’s egress doors are completely unguarded during school hours.
However, it is important to note the inconsistencies in security that still exist between buildings on Main Campus. While virtually every dormitory building on Main Campus is kept under strict lock and key, Barton Hall – one of the older academic buildings on Main Campus – does not regularly keep security guards posted at its main entrances whatsoever. While Barton Hall is slated for demolition in Summer 2015, this does not mean that the students currently inside do not deserve security. In this instance, upgrading egress doors at Anderson and Gladfelter feels more reactionary than it does necessary.
While security upgrades are almost always necessary, the administration should work to ensure that every building is protected to the best of the university’s ability.