Posted by the Editorial Board
After a busy summer of construction, the campus looks better than ever. Lucy Scribner Library's beautifully renovated interior beckons students to spend more time studying; the health concerns in Starbuck have been resolved and the new Hillside Apartments rival Northwoods Village as the nicest housing option. Despite these considerable efforts, however, one stone was left unturned: nothing has been done to heighten the security in the 24-hour-accessible Saisselin Art Building.
Students and faculty members alike have expressed concerns over stolen artwork and materials. The front entrance of Saisselin is always open, and while some of the studios do have punch-code locks, the doors are often left ajar and the codes are rarely changed.
The campus is an incredibly safe and trusting community, and while we value our ability to live uninhibited by security protocols, a luxury students at many larger colleges and universities lack, the reality is that we do not always know who is on our campus. This March, a local man who had been living at the Gateway Motel was caught sending death threats to President Barack Obama from computers in Saisselin. Fortunately, this man didn't harm anyone on campus, but the point remains that he could have.
Studio Art students often work late into the night, and the building is typically scarcely populated. Working sleep-deprived, alone, in the early hours of the morning can feel eerie, especially when the threat of unsolicited or inebriated visitors is a risk.
Case Center is the only other 24-hour building on Skidmore's campus that does not get locked at night. It is a known place of congregation among students, and there is not much valuable equipment to be taken. Any room that does have expensive merchandise has a lock, and the space is so open that it would be difficult to find yourself in a dark corner. However, it is fairly common to have one student working alone in a secluded space of Saisselin late into the night.
Saisselin is full of valuable and expensive materials, and the hours of labor students put into their art is irreplaceable. Instances of student work being stolen or vandalized are not uncommon. Beyond theft and public defacement lies the possibility of injury: there is dangerous machinery which, if in the hands of careless individuals, could cause harm. Instances of drunken carelessness or meandering may be rare, but they do occur.
These concerns can all be addressed by remodeling the security system in Saisselin to look more like that of the Zankel Music Center, the only other 24-hour-accessible building left unmentioned. The doors of Zankel require swipe-entry after 11 p.m., and only students enrolled in lessons or classes may enter the facility. Once inside, they may only swipe into the room needed for the class they are taking. Instruments are stored in lockers with lock combinations known only by the owners.
Of course these measures make sense with so much valuable equipment in Zankel, but why shouldn't this same mentality apply to Saisselin? It would be a relatively simple fix to install similar locks, and students and faculty members could finally be at ease knowing that their valuable materials and precious works are safe.