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Campus safety is key for students, faculty, and parents living that college life. Some students at Morgan State are wondering if the school has gone too far after installing metal detectors into dorms.

It was one of the first changes that kids noticed after returning from holiday break. They had to pass through them to get to their rooms. “I have mixed feelings on it, because I understand it’s for security reasons, because this is an open campus, and anybody came can come on,” freshman Khalin Marshall told Channel 11. “So, I do understand that part, but they are in the dorms, and I feel like it’s our home that we paid for.” Other students like the idea of the screenings but worry about how efficient the changes are.

“I think that it’s a good investment, but I feel like some of them don’t thoroughly do their jobs,” Freshman Sanai Wilson told Channel 11. “They will just look in it, they won’t really move stuff around (to see) if there’s a weapon or anything.”

A Renewed Dedication to Safety

Morgan State has had a few safety concerns on and off-campus in recent years. The most recent being an off-campus shooting at a Northwood Commons gas station in December 2022. The school is focused on making sure that students, parents, and staff feel safe and that recent incidents do not develop a trend of campus violence.

“Maintaining the safety of Morgan’s campus and our students is paramount, which is why we took the proactive measure to put in place safety screening devices in our student residential facilities at the beginning of this Spring term,” the school said in a statement. “The safety screening devices are a component of the University’s overall comprehensive security plan. In all, 17 screening devices were installed leading up to the beginning of the Spring semester which began on January 18.”

The continued, “the safety screening devices are there to assist the University in the detection of potential weapons as residents and visitors enter all on-campus residence halls. The walk-through process for the screening device is meant to be unobtrusive. With this new system in place, the University is actively assessing the operations and welcomes the feedback of our campus community as we are committed to maximizing the safety screening devices’ efficiency and effectiveness. Our overriding goal is to increase the level, and sense, of security without inconveniencing the routine egress and ingress of our students or guests at on-campus residence halls.”

My Take: Needed but Quite the Psychological Adjustment

I’m not a Bear, nor am I alumni. As a resident of the city who has followed recent stories surrounding incidents on or near Morgan State, a renewed focus on safety was warranted. Adding metal detectors is quite the mental adjustment for students, however.

According to a 2011 study by NIH, “there is insufficient data in the literature to determine whether the presence of metal detectors in schools reduces the risk of violent behavior among students, and some research suggests that the presence of metal detectors may detrimentally impact student perceptions of safety.”

Seeing these big safety changes (like, the addition of metal detectors) can serve as a reminder to students and staff that they’re needed. It may cause more anxiety but hopefully, the added safety is worth it.