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Hillsdale College class­rooms are now safer than ever. Courtesy| Calli Townsead

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.