Amidst the flood of stories of school shootings and sexual assaults, female students above all value safety. In order to be Meredith Strong, we have to question how safe the campus is, what is being done to make it safer, and how we as staff and students can contribute to the security of our campus. Meredith College’s soon-arriving improvements in security will begin where it all began: driving by the guardhouse.
The first building anyone sees when arriving on Meredith’s campus is the guardhouse, a small symbol of something much greater. In an interview with the Herald, Chief Al White expressed the importance of this first impression on not only students, but the community as a whole as well. White expressed that visibility is one of the most effective tools campus security has in preventing potential aggression and violence. When the first visible building reminds visitors that the campus is guarded by an attentive security staff, Meredith is flexing its muscles, and we’re getting stronger. Over the past few weeks, the first phases of guardhouse improvement began. White noted that what may seem like cosmetic improvements are already improving the safety of the campus. “The guardhouse wasn’t insulated before now,” he explained. “It was hard for officers to be stationed in the hot or in the cold, but we’re adding thermopane glass and an HVAC unit. The guardhouse will now be staffed at all hours.” After this, the next phase of guardhouse improvement will be the addition of fluorescent guard arms. This addition will not only increase interaction between security and incoming traffic at night, but will also stop outgoing traffic to monitor who may be on Meredith campus during off-hours. The final phase of guardhouse improvement is the invisible safety technique.
White explained that security cameras will be added to the guardhouse which can record every license plate driving onto Meredith campus. The cameras will be active 24/7 and will keep a registry of every car that drives onto campus for security to monitor. White explained that the guardhouse improvements aren’t the only ways in which campus security is both visibly and invisibly protecting the campus. While many professors and students have expressed concerns about the public greenway that runs through Meredith’s campus, as it allows through traffic that isn’t stopped by the campus police, White assured that security is active on the greenway. They drive along the greenway during the day, allowing the campus police to be visible to the community and the greenway closes at dusk. It’s not the security risk many believe it to be, as it is monitored. White also wanted both students and staff to be aware that Meredith’s campus security has an incredible wealth of knowledge. With over 170 years of law enforcement knowledge and experience, in addition to the decade of campus specific work held by White himself, Meredith’s campus police are a strong resource for any issue occurring in or around campus. If there are any doubts, White encourages students to check the numbers. The Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports are available online on the Meredith website for anyone to see and the numbers speak for themselves. Across the board, Meredith College is one of the safest college campuses in the Southeast.
By Savi Swiggard, Staff Writer