Opinion: Restored visitor policy ignores campus security failures

As NYU reinstates its pre-pandemic visitor policies, the university administration has ignored implications regarding campus safety.

NYU+Gramercy+Green+Hall

Staff Photo by Sara Miranda

Gramercy Green is located in New York’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. (Samson Tu for WSN)

Shamon Lawrence, Deputy Opinion Editor

Yesterday, NYU removed restrictions on outside visitors for academic and residential spaces. The changes include allowing non-affiliated guests to enter campus buildings and residence halls, as long as they comply with NYU’s vaccination requirement and are sponsored by NYU employees, students or faculty members. 

While this news indicates a promising year with lessened COVID-19 restrictions, the administration must consider instances of student endangerment in campus spaces, including the Rubin Hall intruder who violated university policy by staying in a lounge of a first-year dorm on several occasions, and the Lafayette Hall intruder who entered student residences uninvited. 

Safety and autonomy are not mutually exclusive. While the decision grants more autonomy to students, the administration cannot ensure their safety as the volume of guests increases across campus. The already-strained Department of Campus Safety may be overwhelmed by the increase in campus activity across academic and residential spaces.

Campus Safety has repeatedly failed to respond to these atrocities with substantive changes, possibly due to the low morale expressed by Campus Safety officers. The implications of the new policies are dire when considered alongside the internal disarray of the department.

In hopes of restoring pre-pandemic campus culture, the social landscape of the NYU campus is changing from a time of social distance to social interaction. While this move helps to restore the pre-pandemic social norm, it is important to consider the ramifications of restoring norms in a world that has evolved from the time when they were established.

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Contact Shamon Lawrence at [email protected]