Greek Life members have expressed concerns regarding the security of their housing, especially after some safety scares earlier this academic year.
On Otterbein’s campus, dorm safety is one of the most important things to the school. Otterbein wants to ensure that every student feels safe in the environment they have by going as far as maintaining a three-level security system on within most dorms. In Mayne Hall specifically, a student must use their Cardinal Card to enter the lobby, then their floor, and finally use a conventional door key to get into their room. This form of on-campus safety is some of the best the school has to offer, but this doesn’t go for all types of on-campus living.
Sorority and fraternity housing on Otterbein’s campus is still in the long process of improving their safety. “The house binder we have says that since 2001 we’ve been trying to improve [our security],” said Audrey Soska, a junior nursing major and the current house manager for Theta Nu Sorority.
In no part has the struggle to up the security in the Greek Life houses been due to the school's lack of effort. “The school has said that every solution for the lock situation could have ten things that could go wrong with it. From a theoretical standpoint, they want to have solutions to those problems,” said Soska.
In most regards, the school is very involved in the houses on campus. According to the Otterbein website, the Service Department will help with any damages or malfunctions on the properties within their daily work schedule. This goes along with monthly inspection to ensure the safety of the residents in all other aspects of the building except for the on-going process of updating the security.
Often with Greek Life members residing in the houses, they want to keep their doors unlocked so that their members who do not live in the house have access to a place outside of their dorms. This is where the issue of the locks becomes most prevalent. The Theta Nu house located right next to the Campus Center has been a hot spot for unwanted visitors during the current school year. “Early in the fall semester of 2019, there was a random man that walked into our house. Multiple random drunk people have walked through the house,” Soska said.
One of the main ideas that Soska presented to the school during their communications was that of a number lock on the house that all the members would know. At the time the school cited the need for the Service Department to have access to the building as a reason for why that would not work according to Soska, “I thought that would be the best option because we do keep our house open to the entire chapter, so having a key lock would keep it locked for the majority of the time,” Soska said. A key lock would give access to people in the chapter who do not live in the house, but would also give strangers from entering the house.
It is clear that the school is primarily looking out for the safety of the residents in these Greek life housing buildings, and although frustrating, the students understand the need to be patient. “It’s hard when we want action, but they tell us to wait,” Soska said, “It’s scary when you live on the first floor and you hear the door open and you have to wonder who is entering your house and if you know them.”