Karina Barriga Albring
Additional security regulations have been implemented in the Redfern Arts Center in order to keep the students and faculty safe.
Due to the amount of thefts registered in the building last semester, security has become a priority among staff and students. Shannon Mayers, Redfern Art Center director, said, “Campus Safety and everybody who works in this building are very sensitive to it.”
The Equinox reported last spring that a laptop, two master keys, music equipment, and a professor’s car keys were stolen from the Redfern. Amanda Warman, Campus Safety Director said they “haven’t heard any follow up on that from the police.”
However, Warman claims Campus Safety and the Redfern staff and faculty are working together to prevent any more incidents from happening.
Strict building hour control, access lists for after hours and class recommendations regarding safety are some of the policies the Redfern has implemented this fall.
According to Warman, the faculty has been asked “to put notes in their syllabus about the policies about using the building, like that the students are not supposed to be there by themselves, that they shouldn’t let strangers in”.
The rooms in the Redfern Arts Center are locked when the building closes at night and during weekends and holidays. Nevertheless, if students need to go in the building after hours, they can.
Faculty and staff are aware that art majors involve irregular schedules. Mayers said the regulations do not intend to complicate student’s academic development. “The building is opened for classes and rehearsal that need to happen… Unless they are trying to rehearse at one o’clock in the morning, they should be able to get in.”
Theater professor Peggy Rae Johnson agreed, “In theater, we tend to work long hours, and we have access to the building. We call Campus Safety and if we have the proper ID, they will let us in.”
Warman explained that an access list is required. “The professor submits an access list to us and then the student has to come in (to the Keddy House) with their ID. We update their ID, so that it will allow them to access the building after hours.”
Students have noticed some changes in the building functionality. Jessica Descolos, a senior, said, “It is hard for students because if they need to use a room, they need to look for the person that has the key.”
On the other hand, she said she believes regulations are necessary. “That is just what we have to do, because so many things got stolen last year, and we don’t want that to happen again.”
Taylor Ewing, a theater major, said there are changes in student behavior. “People are less comfortable coming into the Green Room. We grew so comfortable with the community here that we stopped noticing that we were leaving valuables around, and then theft started happening and people started thinking ‘well, I guess it could happen to me.’”
Regarding technological improvement in security, Amanda Warman said, “At this time, we don’t have a camera plan for the building, but that doesn’t mean that we are not going to put cameras in it.”
Nevertheless, Warman said she believes that the real challenge is about changing people’s attitude. “Technology is not only way you can make a place more secure. You can have more technology, but if people don’t practice good safety and security practices, then the technology really doesn’t have a lot of value.”
Moreover, some students and faculty consider it is not necessary to take this action. Ewing is one of them. “Campus Safety has enough on their plate looking over the whole campus,” she said.
Professor Johnson has a strong opinion towards this type of surveillance. “Having somebody watch us 24/7 just doesn’t feel like the choice that I would like to make. We have a lot of intrusion in our lives now. I really think that we individually, as independent people need to take a little bit more precautions and responsibility for ourselves.”
Professors’ cooperation has been crucial to increase the student’s awareness toward safety issues. Johnson advises her students to take advantage of the services Campus Safety offers. “Sometimes, when we’ve had students here late, and I would say call Campus Safety, wait for them and they will take you across the campus to your dorm.”
Campus Safety has an escort service all the time. According to Warman, students use it with some frequency; however, it “gets used a lot more by staff who work late in campus and that might want an escort to their car.”
About lightning around the Redfern area, Warman said they “have not received any complaints” about it. In fact, she affirms Campus Safety does lighting surveys to make sure that lights are working and leads a walk around campus with a group of students every year, usually in November, to see how it looks .
Despite the impression caused by last spring’s incidents, Campus Safety and Redfern staff and faculty members agreed that the Redfern is not the only building that has experienced theft.
Mayers said, “Unfortunately theft does happen in campus, as it happens anywhere. What we ask everybody to do, faculty, staff and students is to make sure that they don’t leave anything out unattended.”
Warman indicated the Redfern “is a challenging building because there are so many ways into and out of it.” However, she said it does not receive a special treatment. “We have to check the whole campus, and sometimes we just have a couple of officers on duty . We have around 60 buildings, and certainly the areas within the Redfern are important, but we also have 3000 students that live on campus, so we have to patrol everywhere.”
Still, Professor Peggy Rae Johnson believes Campus Safety “does a good job. I can think of a dozen campuses close by that would make me feel much more concerned than Keene State,” she said.
So far, no incidents have been reported in the Redfern since the beginning of this semester.
Karina Barriga Albring can be contacted at