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July 06, 2009 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-07-06

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Monday, July 6, 2009
8 ( The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Classroom safety raises concern

University faculty
wants doors that lock
from the inside
By HILARY KATSIN
Daily StaffReporter
In wake of incidents like the
Northern Illinois University and
Virginia Tech shootings that
occurred within the last two and
a half years, University adminis-
trators are considering equipping
classrooms with doors that lock
from the inside.
Physics Professor Keith Riles
introduced the issue at the Senate
Advisory Committee on Univer-
sity Affairs meeting last month
and said that adding doorknobs
that lock from the inside to Uni-

versity classrooms may help keep
students and staff safe.
Though Riles's idea is currently
not a concrete project, individuals
from the Office of Facilities and
Operations have been conducting
research and collecting feedback
to see if adding doors that lock
from the inside would be benefi-
cial to University classrooms.
Diane Brown, Department of
Public Safety spokeswoman, said
in an interview last week that cur-
rent fire regulations in the state
of Michigan require that all doors
inside campus buildings swing
outward into the hall and that
there is only one step required -
like turning a door handle - for an
individual to exit the room.
All doors currently have a sin-
gle lock that is incorporated into
the doorknob, rather than a dead

bolt and a doorknob, which would
create a second step to exit each
room.
"At home, you have a dead bolt
and a door knob," Brown said.
"That is not permitted in Michi-
gan for fire safety, so we can't just
throw on a lock. It must be inte-
grated into the door handle mech-
anism."
Brown said that if University
administration intends to act upon
Riles' idea, all of the doorknobs in
every building would have to be
replaced. She added that replacing
doorknobs in hundreds of build-
ings and thousands of classrooms
would be costly and time-consum-
ing. Furthermore, the University
would have to decide whether to
replace the doorknobs all at once
or over time as buildings get reno-
vated.

But supporters of the plan think
the benefits of the concept out-
weigh the potential costs. Riles
wrote in an e-mail interview that
it is an important project to ensure
campus safety.
"I happened to be teaching a
class in the Dennison high-rise
the semester of the NIU shoot-
ing," Riles wrote. "(I) realized
that not only could I not lock my
classroom door, but I couldn't
even barricade the door effec-
tively, as was attempted at Vir-
ginia Tech, because the Dennison
doors open to the outside - not
the inside."
Riles wrote that one of the main
arguments against installing the
new locks brought up at the meet-
ing was that doors would be locked
unintentionally, makingclassroom
access difficult during scheduled

class hours, as well as after hours.
Thomas Matthews, a Ross
School of Business senior, said he
doesn't think the new doors should
be installed, fearing that they
would be locked during inconve-
nient times.
"In a situation like the one they
are envisioning it seems like it
would be a good precaution," he
said. "But I like having the class-
rooms open all of the time for
studying."
Brown said that installing the
new doors would be a likely solu-
tion in the event of a threat, but
that it would be a huge and com-
plicated project. She added that if
a project is initiated, University
administration will have to deter-
mine who will finance it and what
the construction process will look
like.

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