Changes in campus security signal start of new era

Students returning to Goshen College will have noticed some changes in campus security that are the first steps in an overall shake-up of the college’s security. The changes are being implemented on recommendations made by a campus safety and security task force that was formed two years ago. The task force suggested some changes in security to better serve students and faculty. The changes suggested by the task force included the addition of swipe-card security systems and the gradual shift in campus security from a service that was traditionally outsourced by the college to a new in-house security service.

Currently campus security is handled by Securitas, a national security company with regional headquarters in Fort Wayne, Ind. Along with the change of security to an internal function, the new campus security will now be working more closely with student life–a change that Vice President of Student Life, Bill Born, suggests will integrate security more around students, to better serve them and their needs. The first major step in implementing these changes came with the hiring of a new Director of Campus Security, Al Mackowiak. According to Born, Al will be in charge of overseeing all the services that campus security currently does, as well as the newer changes such as the on-campus swipe access cards, and the upcoming security education programs for students. Born explains that Al is currently only working half time, but he is on call if he is needed. Al is well qualified for the job, having worked for the Goshen Police department for over three decades, where he still works as a detective. He plans to retire from the force this winter.

The biggest security change that has been affecting students so far is the use of the new access cards. The access points and cards were suggestions from the task force and were added to the doors of residence halls, and select areas such as the Schertz computer lab, and the commuter lounge. The access points work by installing readers that detect computer chips in the ID swipe cards. Each student is assigned their own number, so, as Born describes, this creates a way to manage the access that students have. “Certain student ID card numbers have certain access points at certain times, and some don’t. What it assures is that residence hall spaces and some select spaces like the commuter lounge are secure from any external public.” The system allows for more security while still allowing students to visit during open hours, maintaining the larger community feel of the campus. This also means that student life has access to records of who has opened what doors and when, a helpful tool that provides more information that can be helpful in solving issues or concerns that may arise. Born explains though, that while the system does record this information, “nobody’s tracking that on a regular basis.”

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Written by Jair Hernandez

I am a Senior Public Relations major at Goshen College.

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