Residential halls broken locks jeopardizes students’ safety

With a few hard tugs on the Owls Nest residence hall doors, they fly open, alarms sound and one can now access the residential hall without an ID card.  The broken doors leave students wallets and safety in jeopardy.

Owls Nest resident Andrea Pauza commented on the safety hazard when she said, “It definitely makes me feel nervous. We are suppose to live in a safe environment and anyone can get in if they know just to pull it hard enough,” Pauza said.

Megan Barbato, Resident Director for the Owls Nest and Butler residential halls said she recognized the danger the doors put students in.  She stated this is a new issue.

She said she took immediate action when the issue was brought to her attention.

“Immediately, we had the carpenters go back and take a look at it and they have been able to fix it,” Barbato said.

However, the doors continue to present a problem after breaking multiple times.

Leah Mulroney/Equinox Staff: Owl’s Nest’s door locks can be opened without using a resident’s ID. Students complain about safety issues in the residence hall.

Leah Mulroney/Equinox Staff: Owl’s Nest’s door locks can be opened without using a resident’s ID. Students complain about safety issues in the residence hall.

Keene State College’s Associate Director for Facilities and Housing Operations, Jim Carley, said there is discussion about potentially replacing the faulty doors with a new door system.

Carley said the school is looking into its options.  “One of the things I am going to look into is, will it be necessary to take out the entire door and the door jam, so not only take the door itself but do we need to take out the jam that is attached to that whole frame?” Carley questioned.

In the meantime, both Barbato and Carley said they insist students lock their doors.  Unfortunately, Barbato said the Owls Nests that require a key cause a problem for students.  She said students will leave their doors unlocked to go use the bathroom, but there is no reason personal doors should ever be unlocked.

“It’s really about students [that] just don’t want to bring their key,” Barbato said.

At the moment, Owls Nests three, eight and nine use codes, but the other six Owls Nests require students to carry keys with them.

Carley said he recognizes the benefit of switching all the inside doors to codes but commented that the cost may be too extreme to take any action.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of doors over there. It takes not only a lot of time but it takes a lot of money because the door and the lock has to be replaced,” Carley said.

Despite the consequences, Carley said the problem is going to be looked at this summer.

In the meantime, both Carley and Barbato encourage students to lock their personal doors to ensure their security.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a key door or if you have a combo door. It’s always good practice if you’re there to leave your door closed and locked,” Carley said.

To convince students to lock their doors Barbato said she has initiated a “Post-It Note” program.

Barbato said residence assistants are going to walk around the dorm knocking on doors.

If the room is vacant the RAs go in the room if the door is unlocked. Then they will leave Post-It notes on everything of value that someone with malicious intent might have taken.

Barbato said she hopes to promote awareness by implementing the new program.

“It is something that I have done at other schools and I think is really helpful here,” Barbato said.

Barbato stated the biggest issue is that every student is being charged for the broken locks when only one person is responsible. The Resident Director of Owls Nest and Butler said, “Unfortunately the residents of that nest are the ones who would be charged for those damages to redo those doors every single time…The goal is not to charge every student for one students problem,” Barbato said.

Barbato said if residents of Owls Nests witness a person breaking into an Owls Nest to inform Barbato or Campus Safety so the person responsible can be charged.


Anna Glassman can be contacted at

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