Jacqueline Getchell — Guest Writer
At the end of October, a journalist approached Robert Taylor with a concern about the lack of peepholes in apartment doors on campus. This issue had not been brought up in his 24 years of working at Dordt University, which he blamed on the general feeling of safety at Dordt. With students often bypassing the locks on their doors despite staff efforts to discourage this behavior, Taylor assumed this attitude prevented the topic from arising earlier.
Once the issue was brought to his attention, Taylor said he thought the idea was “fantastic.”
Christine Turek said that in her Southview apartment, they often must rely on cracking the door open to check who it is. She hoped that with a peephole, they wouldn’t have to blindly open the door to unexpected visitors.
Having consulted Josh Dorhout, Director of Facilities and Services, soon after receiving the initial email about the peepholes, Taylor said the process of installation will begin within the next few weeks. They have requested quotes from three or four different peephole producers and will decide which to use based on price and security. The school will either purchase peepholes without the ability to see through from both sides, or they will buy peephole covers.
According to Taylor, the largest variable in planning for the installations comes from the required labor. Outsourcing the workers would likely cost more, so it remains a question of availability of the maintenance workers on campus. Regardless of this uncertain factor, Taylor estimated that the project should cost about $6000-8000, a price well within the common range of campus expenditures.
After the initial purchases, a link will be included in the Weekly to allow students to request a peephole for their apartment or dorm room. The hope is to install the peepholes gradually, beginning with requests and continuing to install them until they can finish all of campus over the summer.
Taylor also mentioned his plans of adding peepholes to hallway entrances in Covenant Hall and examining the inconsistent lighting in East Campus hallways which renders their peepholes useless.
Junior Greta Haas appreciates having a peephole in her East Campus apartment, but she feels unsafe when the hallway lights aren’t on, especially at night, because it prevents her from being able to see. Haas said she and her roommate check their East Campus peephole every time either of them opens the door to an unexpected visitor.
“If it was someone that definitely looked like they didn’t belong on campus, like an older man or something, I probably wouldn’t open it,” Haas said.
This ability to decide who enters her apartment makes Haas feel safer with a peephole.