Dorm association opposes security plan, holds elections

Jens Krogstad

The Residence Hall Association continued its opposition to a University security plan during its meeting Sunday, as well as announcing record voting levels for its elections.

Residents elected Katie White and Blake Verdon as the association’s president and vice president for the 2004-05 school year.

“It’s the highest voting percentage in at least five years,” said R.R.S. Stewart, the association’s current president and a Minnesota Daily columnist.

Approximately 1,000 residents voted last week, an increase of 23 percent from last year, she said.

Jill Blashka, the association’s social programming coordinator, presented a housing security report.

The report was released in response to the University’s plans to place two late-night community security monitors in the lobbies of every residence hall and University apartment beginning next school year.

Under the proposal, which was released last month, monitors would check residents in after a certain time at night.

The University’s proposal focuses on keeping strangers out, but Blashka said residents’ main concern is with fellow students committing crimes.

The association’s report referenced University crime statistics showing most sexual violence on campus occurs within residence halls.

The report also stated most sexual assault victims probably know their assailants and that this indicates the University’s focus on keeping people out of residence halls is flawed.

Blashka said a “lock-your-door-campaign” would be a cost-effective way to decrease theft in residence halls.

Stewart and vice president Mike May will present the report to Housing and Residential Life Director Laurie McLaughlin today.

In other news, association member Kevin Wendt blasted a letter from Leslie Bowman of University Dining Services.

Wendt said UDS had been unresponsive until they agreed to hold a public forum last month.

The letter responded to the association’s dining resolutions and said UDS looks for student input.

“They have never worked with us,” Wendt said. “For a year and a half we couldn’t get them (to attend a forum.)”