The new security measures at Corbara and Elmsley Hall are unique to the U of T campus. NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

St. Michael’s College recently introduced tighter security measures at two of its residence halls, which include video intercom terminals at the main entrances.

The newly-installed system requires residents to verify their identities after visiting hours by first pressing a button on the video intercom terminal to call the Porter and then holding their student card to the camera for verification before they are buzzed in.

In an email to students on October 4, the college announced that the new security tool had been installed for the College’s two largest residences — Elmsley Hall and Sorbara Hall — with plans to introduce them in other buildings once the transition process has been fine-tuned.

The video intercoms have been fitted at four different entryways, including the southeast entrance of Elmsley, the northwest entrance of Sorbara, the southwest entrance of Sorbara, and the barrier-free southeast entrance of Sorbara.

Previously, residents could access the building and their respective floors by simply swiping a key card. This system will continue to function during regular hours; enhanced security will be enforced from Sunday through Thursday after 11:00 pm and Friday through Saturday after 12:30 am.

According to the college, the upgraded security is “intended to help the College better monitor who is entering our dormitories in the late evening and overnight periods,” with particular emphasis on non-residents.

The email sent out to residents also claimed that “non-residents/guests were involved in many of the negative incidents that occurred within our dorms – especially incidents of damage, theft and vandalism.” A recent incident that occurred in Sorbara Hall on September 29 was mentioned.

Elmsley and Sorbara remain amongst the few on-campus residence halls to implement such vigilant security measures. Trinity College, for example, requires residents to use their access keys to unlock the entrance doors to their buildings and floors after-hours. No such after-hours security measures exist for University College residences.

This is not the first time that St. Michael’s College has introduced stricter security for its residence buildings. In early 2015, the college put in place an access control system with security guards stationed at main entrances to filter people coming in. The system was taken down soon after following negative feedback from students and staff.

Duane Rendle, the Dean of Students at St. Michael’s College defended the newly implemented system in a statement to The Varsity, saying: “The new measures are intended to enhance building security and in turn, keep our residents safer.”

“Some students have raised concerns that the new system is not as convenient as the old one and I will concede that ‘security’ and ‘convenience’ are concepts that rarely compliment one another,” he commented.

“That being said, we simply don’t feel it is an unreasonable request to ask students show their ID in order to gain access to our residences,” Rendle continued, “in fact, this same requirement already exists at many other dorms and residential buildings in downtown Toronto.”

Rendle also said that hearing of incidents such as the Laval University residence break-ins made him “confident that we are moving in the right direction and that sacrificing a little convenience for improved security is a worthwhile tradeoff.”

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