Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Just last week, a campus-wide email was sent to students about the new Junker identification policy. When entering the Junker Center, students must present identification to receive access to the weight room and basketball courts, “no exceptions.”
Security has visibly increased. Instead of an opportunity to casually stroll by the desk attendant and into the weight room or gym, students are now greeted with partitions and a sign-in sheet.
University Park originally suggested the idea because of the Sandusky scandal that tarnished Penn State’s reputation and questioned their security methods. Behrend has not been left out of the equation.
Last semester, there were reports of stolen iPhones and other gym merchandise. Similar thefts took place at high local Erie high schools. Because there were no camera-recorded or visual records, a suspect was never found. Police continue to investigate these thefts. Director of Athletics Brian Streeter further explained that, although this may seem like a hassle, it is for the safety and convenience of the students and staff members. Aside from the previous theft problem at Junker, an even newer conflict has arisen at our exercise facility.
“We have found over the past few weeks many people outside our community have been using our facilities thus preventing limited use to those who have the rights to use them,” Streeter said.
There are hopes that in the near future all students will have to swipe their Penn State ID cards to enter Junker, unfortunately this will not be made possible until another control station is placed in the east end of the building.
Along with the second control station, the Junker Center will be installing cameras within most of the building’s main rooms.
The handicap accessible door will also switch sides, which will be a costly move due to rewiring the system.
These changes were originally expected to be done during break, but no work has been completed as of yet.
Rob Wittman, intramural & recreational programs and facilities coordinator, said, “It’s going to be slow going until we get all the security measures in place.”
Currently, student assistants at the Junker help desk are checking ID’s, but they can only do so much. Last week 10 to 12 kids were caught last week without ID’s. They were asked to leave the facility.
Luckily, plans have been set in motion to construct this new station, moving forward to find the solution to this problem. Once the swipes have been installed, the Junker Center staff will have the ability to know who is in the facility and at what time. This will keep the local community out of the gym, and open up machines and equipment to those who have the right to freely use them.
“Hopefully, this will make the Junker Center a more secure facility for the safety of the Penn State Behrend Community,” Streeter said.
Wittman agrees that the heightened security is for the best and it will provide a safer system than before.
“Anything can happen in an athletic facility. Students need to know it’s for their safety and well-being,” Wittman said.