Metal Detectors Installed in Jackson State Dorms - Higher Education
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Metal Detectors Installed in Jackson State Dorms

by Ashlei Spivey -- Black College Wire

In response to the shooting of former JSU student Lamar Smith in front of Dixon Hall on April 20, students must put all of their belongings on a table to be searched for weapons or contraband if the metal detector goes off.

Stephone Camper, Assistant Community Director of Dixon Hall, said the metal detectors in both residence centers are a safety precaution because of the location of the shooting.

“I am happy to see JSU beefing up security on campus,” Camper said. “It gives us a better sense of safety.”

Camper added that at first some of the students did not grasp the new procedure, but the more they come through the detectors, the more comfortable they are with it.

“The metal detectors and being searched when walking in the dorm is an invasion of privacy and this is supposed to be our home away from home,” said Daniel Huggins, a junior psychology major from Meridian, Miss. “Just because one incident happened, it’s a little late to take action now.”

A member of the JSU Department of Public Safety will be at each site to ensure students are following the new procedures.

“I am uncertain of how long the machines will be in place but we are also advised to keep ears and eyes open,” said Camper.

Howard Hollins II, a junior history education major from Tutwiler, Miss. and a current resident assistant in Alexander Hall, said, “I feel that the metal detectors will not prevent any shootings on campus simply because a shooting can occur at anytime on this open campus.”

Visitation has also been affected by the recent shooting.

“Currently visitation is cancelled for all dorms and although metal detectors are currently only in Dixon and Alexander Halls, there are plans to have them installed in all dormitories,” said Edwin Quinn, associate dean of Student Life.

Sgt. Angela Butler of the Public Safety Department said the main concern is safety. “We want to notify students that the metal detectors are being installed for crime prevention. The safety of the students is our number one priority,” Butler said.

She added that the majority of problems have occurred in Alexander and Dixon Halls, and that is the reason for detectors being installed there first.

“But do not rule out implementing detectors in other locations,” said Butler. “It is in the near future.”

Carl Davis, a freshman business major from Jackson, Miss., and Alexander Hall resident feels the metal detectors are needed.

“It is a good move and they (JSU) should have been doing this from the beginning,” Davis said.

Davis said that the new procedure should be across the board, all dorms and public areas should have detectors. “If every place does not have them then it seems they are stereotyping these residents as the troublemakers,” stated Davis.

Micah Mills, a junior graphic design major from Indianapolis, Ind. said, “The metal detectors may keep guns out of the dorm but people can still have guns on this campus. We must be aware of our surroundings. You can’t metal detect the whole campus.”

Other students believe that the new measures should have been implemented earlier.

“I feel it is a wonderful asset to JSU, although it should have been installed earlier,” said Brinda Armstead, a senior biology/pre-med major from Crenshaw, Miss. “There is no time better than the present. It seems the institution has a problem with security until a problem arises.”

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