Rotunda restricts weekend access

Brittany Moseley

Only Kent State students will be allowed in the Tri-Towers Rotunda Thursday through Saturday from midnight to 7 a.m. due to an increase in disorderly conduct in the area.

The area includes Rosie’s, the computer lab, the lounge and the Tri-Towers’ desk. The policy goes into effect tonight.

Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services, announced the new policy at Tuesday’s Kent Interhall Council meeting. Yesterday residence hall students received an e-mail notifying them of the changes.

Joseph said one thing that sparked the decision was the Leebrick Hall elevator incident March 29. Thirty people, mostly non-Kent State students, overloaded an elevator causing it to stop between floors. No one was injured, but Joseph said three students got caught in the shaft when they tried to jump out.

“That for me was sort of the culminating piece because of how very serious that was and how lucky we were that no one was injured,” Joseph said.

Besides the elevator incident, Dean Tondiglia of the Kent State Police Department said compared to last semester, there has been more disruptive behavior this semester in the Tri-Towers Rotunda.

Last semester there were 106 incidents in and around the Tri-Towers Rotunda. This semester there have been 142. Tondiglia, associate director of public safety, said these numbers include premise checks, non-criminal and criminal incidents.

Security manager Brian Hellwig said the incidents include physical fights, assaults on staff in the area and disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

“Behaviors have just gotten to the point where it’s putting students at risk,” Joseph said.

Tondiglia didn’t know how many of those incidents involved non-students, but he said the majority of people the police are dealing with are non-students.

For the first few weeks that the policy is in place, Tondiglia said there will be additional officers on hand. After that though, he hopes to cut back on the number of officers in Tri-Towers in order to focus more attention on other areas of campus.

Before this policy, students were allowed to bring two guests to Rosie’s as long as he or she provided a photo ID. Extra security was also implemented last semester at Tri-Towers after a fight in the breezeway. At midnight, doors to the breezeway were locked, and students could only get into the Rotunda through the main door.

However, Joseph said this hasn’t resolved the problem because students let people in behind them, whether they are the students’ guests or not.

Tondiglia said he doesn’t expect any negative reactions from students because the new policy will cut down on the amount of people in the area, allowing the line at Rosie’s to move faster and less crowds in the lounge and computer lab.

Since she started at Kent State in June 2004, Joseph said the area hasn’t been closed to non-students before. She also added that at this point in time, limiting the facilities to students is the only way to gain control of the situation and to create a safer environment.

Contact room and board reporter Brittany Moseley at [email protected].