From new technology to new locks on classroom doors, Hillsdale College’s security team has been making serious improvements to campus this past year.
Director of Campus Security William Whorely said while the college and its surrounding community is a generally safe place to live, work, and study, he and his team are always preparing for the ‘what if’ scenario, especially now as current nation-wide tensions surrounding safety have played a part in the team’s decision to re-up security measures.
“It’s just an effort to make campus more safe,” Whorley said. “ With all the unrest in the country and around the world, we want to be prepared. We don’t put a lot of ‘probably’ on the ‘just in case,’ but that’s just what it’s there for.”
Most recently, the college completed the first phase of installing a new door-locking system called Nightlock. These special locks will be installed in all the classroom buildings on a majority of the classroom doors. The team plans to install them in even more campus buildings in the future.
“It allows the doors to be locked from the inside,” Whorely said. “On the wall there’s a box next to the doors. You open it up and there’s an L‑shaped aluminum bracket that you place on a floor plate. It’s virtually impossible to get the door open.”
Whorely said one benefit of the Nightlock system is that it’s simple to use and doesn’t require fine motor skills. According to Whorely, anyone could use the system, even under stressful circumstances, but he doesn’t anticipate anyone needing to use it.
Senior Zoe Eby, who has been working in security for the last two years, said she thinks the new locks will be beneficial to the college.
“I feel like any extra security is helpful,” she said. “But I would actually say Hillsdale is a safe place, a lot safer than state colleges, that’s for sure.”
Another ‘just in case’ security measure is something students can take with them wherever they go — the Rave Guardian and Alertus smartphone applications.
“We would like all the students to download these apps,” Whorley said. “Those are both for mass notifications. I would describe the Alertus app as a ‘push app’ where we push information out, and the Rave Guardian app as a ‘pull app’ I where we pull information in.”
In addition to taking security measures through the apps, Hillsdale’s security team has upped its qualifications. Employees have received more training and are better equipped to handle any circumstance.
While extra security and apps are nice to have as precautions, Whorley said the best thing students can do is to be responsible and aware.
“It’s really incumbent on the students themselves to exercise reasonably safe practices,” Whorley said. “Don’t wear dark clothing at night, pay attention when you cross the street, and if you’re going for a run, take someone with you. There’s strength in numbers.”
Hillsdale College Campus Security is open 24/7 and can be reached at (517) 607‑2535.