Brandeis outfits classrooms with reinforced locks, plans for new security measures in wake of stabbings

Brandeis outfits classrooms with reinforced locks, plans for new security measures in wake of stabbings

October 4, 2019

Over 95 classrooms were outfitted with reinforced locks and deadbolts this summer, and Brandeis intends to install new security cameras and upgrade existing cameras.

These changes to campus safety—announced in a Student Union Senate meeting by Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees Zosia Buse ’20 and confirmed by Interim Vice President of Campus Operations Richard Reynolds—are part of an ongoing effort by the university to increase safety on campus. 

These changes come in addition to plans to hire new security personnel and other policy changes announced by University President Ron Liebowitz in the wake of the recent stabbing of two Brandeis graduate students. 

Buse announced the lock installation and new security cameras in a Sept. 22 Senate meeting, which Reynolds and Emergency Management Director Joshua Manfredo confirmed to The Brandeis Hoot in an email. The locks were installed by the Brandeis Facilities Services Department, according to Reynolds.

The addition of new security cameras is going to be conducted alongside upgrades of existing cameras. Existing security cameras needed to be upgraded, and so adding additional cameras was “a given,” said Buse.  

Reynolds elaborated that the university has had a consultant review the existing surveillance system for the past few months, and that the university will start accepting bids for new cameras and control systems “soon,” he wrote to The Hoot. 

As of press time, no specific estimates have been provided about when the university expects to have the cameras installed and upgraded. No university officials provided any estimate of the cost of the cameras nor the locks when asked. However, Reynolds wrote that both he and the university believe that the new measures are “well worth the cost.” 

The decision to install these new security measures involved the Departments of Campus Operations and Public Safety, as well as the Risk Management and Audit Committees on the Board of Trustees, said Buse in an interview with The Hoot. Reynolds also mentioned the Facilities Services Department as having been involved in the decision but emphasized that the final decision was made by “university senior administration.” 

In addition to these planned upgrades to physical security, Reynolds confirmed Liebowitz’s statement about new security personnel in the wake of a recent stabbing incident off campus which led to the hospitalization of two Brandeis University graduate students.

Liebowitz announced that the university would be “increasing the size of [the] campus police force,” including the hiring of a night lieutenant and a new public safety officer for daytime, according to an email addressed to students, faculty and staff on Sept. 26. The email did not clarify when these new personnel will be hired or when they will begin work. Liebowitz also announced that the university will be considering an increase in BranVan services at night. 

The Hoot contacted Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration Stewart Uretsky and Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan. Neither provided statements about the new security measures.

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