Security and visitor management protocols at the University of Kansas are in the spotlight following an alleged assault in one of the campus residence halls that is seemingly not subject to the same policies as the university’s other on-campus dorms.
According to a report from The Kansas City Star, there are no regulations barring non-students or minors from overnight visits at University of Kansas student housing but not all protocols apply to the university’s McCarthy Hall — a 38-person apartment complex for the university’s men’s basketball team and other male students — where a 16-year-old girl was reportedly assaulted in December 2016.
McCarthy Hall has two 24-hour entrances that residents can use either by swiping a student ID or using a fingerprint scanner. Officials with university student housing say that students living in the complex can bring in guests at any hour and for overnight stays.
However, unlike Kansas’ non-apartment residence halls guests at McCarthy are not required to sign in upon arrival, meaning there is no official log of non-resident visits. The hall does employ a student resident assistant and one full-time housing employee, a complex director, and both live on the premises.
The reported assault, which remains under investigation by university police, allegedly occurred between 10:00 p.m. 5:00 a.m. and there has been no indication from police as to whether the suspect is a resident at McCarthy or a student.
According to the university’s student handbook, residents are held responsible at all times for their guests, and must ensure that the guest’s conduct is appropriate and not disruptive to the community or disrespectful to the rights of any other resident. The handbook also states that guests visiting between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. must register at a front desk, as well as present photo identification other than their KU card — protocols that seemingly don’t apply to McCarthy Hall.
Visitor management is a challenging proposition on any campus and difficult to execute with precision given the many ways a residence hall can be accessed. Despite fragmented protocols being a relatively common occurrence, however, there are certainly some measures that should apply across the board, including accurate visitor logs, and the presentation of either institution- or state-issued photo identification.