2.24.22 Cartoon

The actions of one depraved individual at Northwest made numerous others feel unsafe just weeks ago. A particularly disgusting person was charged with invading the privacy of women in the Millikan dormitory bathrooms — one he should not have had access to — while they were showering and filmed them. Thankfully, the person in question was found and apprehended by University Police.

Obviously, this individual bears responsibility for revolting actions in violating one of the basic rights an individual has.

However, the University, in part, bears the blame for this.

This situation is not possible in any other dorms except the high-rises. Northwest should act swiftly to make sure it is no longer possible there, either. The right to privacy should not be based on the cost it takes to live in particular dorms on campus. Northwest should begin installing fob lock systems on bathrooms in Millikan, Dieterich and Franken to protect its students.

The University uses a key fob system to secure buildings on campus. The small, gray obelisks are a person’s ticket to places they are required to go. It’s a system used by faculty and staff, student employees and everyone living on campus.

In all dorms besides the high-rises — Perrin and Hudson, Roberta, North and South Complex, Tower Suites and Forest Village Apartments — bathroom entry requires a fob, or a key if the bathroom is located in the room. Simply put, nobody outside of those designated by the University to access the bathrooms can in those dorms.

The fob system is already used by residents to get into the high-rise dorms; it would be an easy and quick solution for Northwest to install fob locks on floor bathrooms and issue fobs that only allow residents on that floor to use that bathroom.

Northwest recently switched over the fobs for Wells Hall. While the process was started just days before the semester began, causing a time crunch, it was completed in time for those that needed the new fobs — Missourian editors among them — to receive them and use the new system.

With spring break on the horizon — a time when dorms are as empty as they will ever be during a semester — Northwest already has a time when it could make this switch and improve security for its residents. The expenditures and possible minor inconveniences are greatly outweighed by the benefits.

It’s no secret the bathroom situation in the high-rise dorms turns current and prospective students away from living there. The bathrooms are shared by more people and tend to feel more like a locker room than a restroom at a residence. Because of the nature of these bathrooms — and location, among other things — the cost of the high-rises is less, and they are usually the last dorms to fill up every year.

A single bed in Millikan or Dieterich costs around $500 less than one in Tower Suites and a little under $575 less than a bed in Perrin or Hudson. Franken, while slightly more expensive than the other high-rises because of recent renovations, also costs less than every other dorm. We understand these dorms cost lower, and based on common sense, they should.

But, the individual right to privacy should not cost $500 a semester. It should be freely given to any student who stays on this campus — and any person who draws breath.

Students living in high-rise dorms should not need to hustle to the shower and try to clean themselves as fast as humanly possible. They shouldn’t live in fear that a malicious individual has passed through the nonexistent security and entered their bathroom. They shouldn’t be required to look over their shoulder when showering to make sure a morally corrupt person with a phone isn’t lurking behind them.

Yes, it may seem like an overreaction, like the University would be overcorrecting because of the actions of one person. Sadly, we often have to base decisions — security and otherwise — on the lowest common denominator in society. If a fob system in Millikan, Dieterich and Franken gives residents a sense of security and deters even one future invasive action, then it will be worth it.

Students living in these dorms deserve dignity and respect. One person tried to take that dignity and respect from others with their actions. It shouldn’t have been able to happen then, and Northwest should take steps to make sure it can never happen again.

Put fob systems on high-rise bathrooms and protect residents’ privacy.

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