At about 3 a.m., cars of St. John’s resident students are parked just of outside Gate 7. It is the only place most can park so early in the morning. Some have just returned from a night out in the city, and a few of them have some work due for an early class that they need to finish.
As students realize the gate is locked, the gate bars begin to look as if they were designed to be climbed easily. There is a decision to be made: should the students walk around the entire perimeter of the St. John’s campus to get back to their dorms? Or should they just hop the fence and risk a hefty fine?A little problem like this makes for an average night out for most resident students and it is time for Public Safety to do something about it.
The first thing to consider is the reasoning behind Public Safety’s decision to keep only one gate open at night. They do this to deter non-St. John’s residents from entering the campus late at night, which is understandable. The only gate open to pedestrians late at night, Gate 6, is monitored personally by Public Safety officers. The officers are there to make sure that one resident student does not let a whole group of people in by passing back his or her StormCard.
While safety is certainly a priority, there is such a thing as being too careful. Keeping only one gate accessible to pedestrian residents late at night is a precaution bordering on excessive. As any resident who has a car on campus knows, parking can be an enormous hassle. Spots are not always available outside of Gate 6, so many students are forced to park outside Gate 7. This is the only gate besides Gate 6 that resident students park near at night, so it would make sense to leave it unlocked.
Would it really be that much of a security issue to open Gate 7? There is a card reader, so the gate will only open for students with valid StormCards. A camera is also mounted over the gate, so Public Safety would be able to see if anyone tried to enter without a StormCard. If an even stricter control over the traffic at Gate 7 were desired, a security guard could be posted there as well.
As things are now, students who park outside of Gate 7 are left with only two options: walk around the entire campus to Gate 6 or just climb the gate. However, climbing the gate has its risks. Besides the obvious potential of falling off of the gate, students who climb over risk being served with a $150 fine.
If the gate were open to students, the fine or the walk would not be an issue. In addition, Public Safety would know that only a non-resident would try to climb over the gate. The way it is now, residents and non-residents alike are hopping the gate.
The present late-night gate policy is not entirely practical. If Gate 7 were left unlocked, the lives of St. John’s students would be made a little easier, and Public Safety would have a much easier time judging who does or does not belong on campus at night.