By: Briana Alvarado
Following multiple incidents where locals harassed students and broke into Howard University dorms, residence life authorities implemented tighter security protocols in the university’s residence halls. Most of the security crisis buzz was generated by recent events in upperclassmen residence halls Howard Plaza Towers East and West. The outcome was that only one of the two dorms resulted in stricter security policies.
“With the recurring situations happening in East, there is an imbalance where East [towers] is stricter,” sophomore Janiah Bowers said.
In response to previous incidents, residence life eliminated visitation from Howard University students. Howard Plaza East residents undergo a strict check-in process involving students showing their Bison One student identification cards, giving their first and last names, and stating their room numbers upon entering the building. In contrast, residents of Howard Plaza West can walk right in or flash any identification card depending on the time of the day and the security personnel on duty.
“They need to let all Howard students in,” Bowers said. “Having ID badges checked and checking if we’re Howard students won’t be a hassle.”
Current visitation restrictions require that students are only allowed to see students in their respective buildings. Students insist that the increased security measures imposed on students ironically contribute to the lack of security.
“There are leaks in the pipe,” Bowers said. “Regardless, the student body will be interacting with each other.”
According to a resident of the East tower, Howard University sophomore Laila Danois, another security breach was reported, only to be met with questioning and doubt by security personnel. Many students admitted to being wary of speaking up for fear of jeopardizing their social standing with other students and resident advisors and potentially losing their housing accommodations.
“Like a homeless man got in the other day and was on the third floor with a shopping cart, and this girl went to report it to the front desk and [security] was like ‘I think I would’ve seen them come in’,” Danois said. “Security doesn’t actually do anything.”
When questioned about their response and protocols regarding previous events, Howard security personnel declined to comment. The goals and involvement of security remain indefinite, but student grievances are multiplying, and their demands are clear: security measures should be enforced to protect students from unpredictable strangers.
“We’re paying to live here,” Danois said. “So, every issue that we have, and that people are addressing, should be addressed in an efficient manner.”
New incidents are reported every day, but students continue to watch their words to avoid losing visitation or suffering possible social repercussions. Students look forward to having more transparency with the conversations surrounding visitation and security, allowing Howard students to move freely about campus without posing the risk of break-ins or even assault.