comInterior design students have 24/7 access to the building through their OneCard. Photo: Mohamed Omar

Interior design keeps doors shut

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Design flaws and security needs cause the School of Interior Design to keep the public out and grant 24/7 private access to its students. Associate News Editor Carolyn Turgeon reports

The School of Interior Design (SID) building remains closed during the day because of flaws in the area their students are studying.

“The biggest problem is the design,” said Annick Mitchell, chair of the School of Interior Design.

Mitchell says that the faculty has gone through many periods of leaving the building locked and unlocked, a decision that security leaves up to them.

“Usually [the decision to lock it] is triggered by thefts or people getting inside,” Mitchell said.

In the past they’ve found someone living under the basement stairwell, and access to the building means access to the work areas.

“The studios are open and they can’t be locked because it affects the exiting system,” said Mitchell. “If you open [the building] up you can’t have studios.”

Due to the layout of the building, it’s not possible to put card readers on the individual studios like other faculties do.

Many students had speculated that the doors were locked because the program consists of primarily women, which Mitchell takes into consideration, but is not the main reason for the closure.

“Yes, there are a lot of women in here and I’d protect them,” Mitchell said.

“There’s people moving in and out all the time,” said fourth-year interior design student Solee Kim, who enjoys the additional security precautions. “We just want to make sure no one’s coming in.”

The design school does not allow the students to be in the building by themselves at night, enforcing the buddy system to make sure this never happens.

“[We] make sure they have an atmosphere in which they can do the work without looking over their shoulders,” said Mitchell.

Her security decisions give her students 24-hour use of the building, but she still wishes she could leave the space more accessible during the day.

“A security guard would help my life a lot,” said Mitchell, adding that unfortunately it’s not a common practice on campus to assign a guard to one building.

“We have to patrol the entire campus. If someone wants to hire us for an entire building there would be a cost,” said Tanya Fermin-Poppleton, manager of security and emergency services operations.

She said that security uses closed circuit television (CCT) to watch the campus as well as patrol, but Mitchell doesn’t find that it helps.

“The truth of the matter is that the security cameras do nothing,” she said. “You try and retrieve the tapes and it hasn’t worked [yet].”

The fashion design students in the studios and classrooms in Kerr Hall South don’t have that luxury.

“More access would be nice,” said Dana Normand, a third-year fashion student. “It’s open from 6 a.m. to midnight but people try to stay later.”

As far as security, she thinks the studios in Kerr Hall are generally pretty safe and patrolled.

“I do remember in first year they told us to be careful of the first floor windows because people would crawl in,” said Normand.

If the studios were in their own building, like the interior design building, they could be open 24 hours a day.

“This is a pretty big program and we should have access for ourselves,” said Normand, adding that transporting and storing materials can be difficult with their limited locker space.

Mitchell believes one of the main problems with campus is space, and that the student body needs more of it to meet and work.

“The only people with the influence to make things happen faster are the students.”

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