Loyola is testing new barricading safety technology at its Lake Shore Campus (LSC) in order to better protect students and staff from potential on-campus shootings. Campus Safety Sgt. Tim Cunningham confirmed the university is examining safety options that will strengthen the doors on campus through the use of a door-jamming lock.
Campus Safety announced the evaluations in light of DePaul University’s announcement of their plan to install door-jamming locks in all classrooms at their Loop and Lincoln Park campuses.
“Campus Safety has been testing one of these types of devices for several months now on the LSC so as to evaluate the durability of the equipment,” wrote Cunningham in an email to The PHOENIX.
The barricades that DePaul is utilizing work like doorstops, and prevent a potential intruder from opening a door from the outside once the locking handle is dropped into a metal holder to support the weight of the door.
The DePaul student newspaper, The DePaulia, reported the university paid $35,195 for the devices.
Jason Matznick, Director of Marketing and Sales at Nightlock, the company providing DePaul with the equipment, said the company has sold to more than 20 universities across the United States.
Cunningham didn’t provide information as to what company Loyola purchased the tested equipment from or how much it paid.
DePaul Public Safety notified students of the new measures in January, and the announcement has gained support from students who would prefer their university to be over-prepared for emergency situations.
“I feel like these measures might be a good idea, but also I think a bigger part of it would be educating people to see what might cause trouble,” said DePaul junior Joe Real. “These measures, in tandem with education about looking out for yourself, would be a great idea. I could see it being good if executed properly.”
Real said he feels safer at DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus, and is more on guard at the university’s Loop campus due to its openness.
There have been 186 school shootings in the United States since 2012, according to the FBI. While mass shootings at colleges and universities are rare, Matznick said the company has seen a growing demand for its product.
“We have seen a rise due to the fact that more K-12 and Higher Ed prepare for lockdown situations. They are looking for ways to increase the security of campuses,” Matznick said.
These types of safety blockades retail for anywhere from $20 to $70, but Nightlock provides a discount once a buyer purchases 100 or more units.
If Loyola’s testing determines that the new safety equipment is needed in bulk, the LSC is the place where some students would prefer the increased security, as some students said they feel less safe on the LSC than they do at the Water Tower Campus.
“I feel pretty safe on the downtown campus. The security personnel that are continuously monitoring the vicinity give me an added sense of security,” said sophomore social change and advocacy major Anna Neufelder. “Actually on the Lake Shore once you get outside of campus boundaries, I feel less safe than I do at the downtown campus.”
Neufelder was unsure whether the new safety precautions were necessary, but said installing the doors could be helpful in an emergency situation.
“I think that the possibility that incidents could happen is always there, so I think that Loyola should take whatever measures they think could make students the safest in the future,” said the 20-year-old.
Cunningham said Loyola’s main concern is the safety of students, and that Campus Safety will continue to provide whatever security is necessary for the student well-being.
“We are always looking at tools and best practices from across the industry to determine what would work best for maintaining the safety and security of Loyola,” Cunningham said.