Jasper and Chrysostom Halls are Getting Security Desks in Fall 2023

By Jilleen Barrett, Senior writer

The offices of Residence Life and Public Safety are planning to add security desks to Jasper and Chrysostom Halls for the fall 2023 semester. This marks the first time in Manhattan College history that both buildings will have security desks in their lobbies. 

In order to gain access to the residence halls, students who live there will be expected to use their student ID cards to check in. Additionally, residents will have to sign guests into the buildings just as in Lee and Horan Halls.

According to the Director of Public Safety, Peter DeCaro, the college’s choice to install the desks is not because of any unsafe incidents in either building.

“It is not in response to anything that’s occurred on campus, really, because we’re very fortunate with the lack of crime on campus, which is great,” DeCaro said. “It’s more of a proactive approach.”

DeCaro said the plan is not set in stone yet, but that he believes it will be “driven based on the availability of finances.”

“We have an operational plan, and we have to see if that comes to fruition, based on the availability of the resources to do those things,” DeCaro said.

Matt Lewis, the recently appointed director of residence life, worked with DeCaro and staff from Physical Plant to examine both of the buildings to ensure that the plan was viable.

“Our plan right now is that all of the buildings will have security,” Lewis said. [DeCaro] and I just did a walkthrough … to determine the best locations for those desks, and our hope is that we’ll be able to have them constructed and ready to go by the time the fall semester begins.”

Security is being increased in every building on campus over time DeCaro told The Quadrangle. The O’Malley Library has a system installed that requires people entering the building to tap their ID card to gain access to its front entrance. Hayden Hall has the same system installed on the doorway that adjoins the bridge to the garage as well as the entrance near the library on the west side of the building.

DeCaro says this same system is used for other buildings on campus and will continue to be added to more. 

“We’ve been rolling it out one building at a time when we had the resources to upgrade those systems and implement [them],” Decaro said.

Lewis noted that the security desks, as well as the card tapping system, are going to give peace of mind to the residents of those dorms. He also feels it will add a level of consistency to the residential experience so that students will always be aware of a check-in process for each buildings’ residents and their guests.

“We have certain buildings right now that do have 24 hour security presence, and then we have others that don’t,” Lewis said. “And so we’re looking to make the experience across the board the same … [and] you have the same kind of interaction in every building that you’re going to.”

Ronald Gray, the vice president of student life, feels that the addition of a security desk will also make students feel more assured that someone is there to help them out if needed.

“I think it’s always good to have someone around that students feel comfortable with,” Gray said. “I think parents will enjoy the fact that in the case of an emergency that students have a public safety officer to go to.”

Additionally, he said they intend to use Jasper Hall as a gathering place for events and club activities. 

“If there’s an event or there’s programs, especially in Jasper … that big event space is a good opportunity for student organizations to use and take advantage of,” Gray said.

Although Gray did not specify how students will “check into” Jasper if they are participating in an activity rather than visiting a friend, he did say that having a guard present to give access to those students will make getting into the building much easier. 

Gray noted that with the addition of security desks in Jasper and Chrysostom Halls, the new apartments in Horan Hall and the freshman-only community in Lee Hall, all of which will be officially introduced this upcoming fall, there will be an overall change on campus.

“We are looking at improvements to the quality of life of our students,” Gray said.