It’s Deeper Than Just a Door
The Namm Building at New York City College of Technology has one of the busiest entrances on campus. One day I just took a moment and observed this part of the school, and I noticed a few things. A student walking in, multitasking, in one hand holding an extremely hot coffee and in the other her bag, all while struggling to get her ID out to scan on the turnstiles. A rushed conversation between a security guard and student, although very short, it was very welcoming. Many people lining up at the security’s sign in podium rummaging through their bags to show all sorts of identification to the security guard. While I sat there, every time a person walked in, a wift of their coffee overwhelmingly struck my nose. As I sat there I felt anxious, I felt a rush come over me and I thought to myself, “how can anyone keep track of all of this chaos and keep our school safe?”. At that moment, I noticed that the Namm’s main entrance isn’t just a door, it’s the most important part of the school safety process.
One morning I decided to sit in and observe the activities that go on at this hectic location. As I sat, I noticed this large man; he had a height of a basketball player but the weight of a featherweight wrestler. His scent filled the entire room, just like the cologne section at Macys. What drew my attention to him wasn’t his appearance or breath-taking cologne, it what he carried with him, a large duffle. I smelled money as I noticed a small brand on the duffle bag that read J.M Hulme (luxury, artisanal bag company). I also noticed he didn’t have a campus I.D on him, so he had to sign in. I didn’t hear the conversation he had with the security guard as he showed him some sort of identification, but I know he just let him in without any questions about the huge duffle bag by the quickness of the sign in. A few moments later, another person came in that didn’t have an i.d, and I made sure I had my ears open. The person (white male, jeans, construction boots, athletic body type) claimed that they had to go to financial aid to clear something up. Without any other questioning but an NYS i.d, the security guard let him through. These events drew up big bright red flags in my head. An article written by Elizabeth F. Farrell and Nicole Fuller stated that “Colleges across the country, especially those located in New York City and Washington… response to a warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation this month that campuses are potential “soft targets” for terrorist attacks because they are heavily populated and lightly guarded.” (Farrell and Fuller par.1). Farrell’s and Fuller’s article has described exactly what I have witnessed at the Namm’s main entrance, colleges are more at risk of danger because there are thousands of people going in and out of them and not enough is being done to secure the building. This article sparked my interest even more to the point that I had to get answers from a person who deals with this issue daily.
I set up an interview with an on duty guard. His name is Charles and his rank was a police officer and he was working the sign-in podium. I asked him a series of questions pertaining to this ongoing issue. I asked “How many security guards are on duty per shift at the Namm’s main entrance?” He calmly replied “two officers”. His response was in a calm tone, but it scared me. The ratio didn’t add up to me; only two officers per shift while hundreds of people go in and out of that entrance? I proceeded to ask him what was the purpose of the sign-in podium; in a serious tone he said “After 9/11 the security increased in government buildings and the sign in sheet will show you what time the person signed in.” I wasn’t satisfied with the answer I received because of the questions that popped up in my head such as “ how does the sign in sheet helpful if the person is up to something hazardous, they can give a false identity and can easily lie as to why they are in the college”. So I searched through the internet to give me more answers. “Security Measures Increase in Schools After 9/11”, an article written by Teal Cooper states “A key security feature to be installed is a card scanner, which will allow school officials to monitor who is in the building at all times. A tighter access control system is important in today’s society, Wolfe said, because it prepares building staff for an intruder or attack.” (Cooper par.14). I have two issues with this statement, one is how does a card scanner help with people who don’t have a card and have to sign in manually? The answer to the question is that it doesn’t, and the statement “a tighter access control system is important in todays society” is absolutely true, but not enough is being done to make sure this statement is actually happening in all schools, especially due to what I have witnessed at the Namms main entrance. Number two “it prepares building staff for an intruder or attack” is a frightening statement. I like the fact that the college staff would be prepared for the worst but what happened to prevention and trying to make sure something like that doesn’t happen? Just by observation and conversation I have realized that the Namm’s main entrance plays an important role in keeping the college safe, and it needs major improvements.
I came to a conclusion, Namm’ main entrance isn’t just a door, it’s a portal of risk and judgment. My observations confirmed that colleges are at a high risk for intruders and terrorist attacks because it is highly populated and lightly guarded. Since 9/11 and the rise in recent school shootings, there should be much more security protocols than just a piece of paper for people who don’t have a college i.d. Before I just though of the main entrance as a place where people enter sad and leave happy, but as I looked into it deeper I found the true significance. Namm’ main entrance is the most critical point and place on campus that predicts our safety in our college.
- Cooper, Teal. “Security Measures Increase in Schools after 9/11.” Security Measures Increase in Schools after 9/11(2011): n. pag. 2011. Web. Dec. 2015.
- Farrell, Elizabeth F., and Nicole Fuller. “Colleges Step Up Security Measures in Response to Terror Warning.” The Chronicle of Higher Education25 (2003). Academic OneFile. Web. 17 Dec. 2015