The doors of Robertson Hall, home of the Wilson School, will be locked two hours earlier every night due to an incident reported late Tuesday, according to an email sent to all Wilson School students.
According to the email, a Wilson School graduate student entered Robertson Hall at 10:30 p.m and noticed a suspicious man in the main lobby. The student then made her way to her office on an upper floor and locked the glass door, but noticed the same man trying to turn her office’s doorknob a few minutes later, University spokesperson Martin Mbugua said.
Mbugua added that officials from the Department of Public Safety conducted a search of the building, but did not find anyone who matched the description of the man.
Elisabeth Donahue, associate dean for public and external affairs of the Wilson School, explained that, due to the incident, the doors of Robertson Hall will now be locked between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, starting on Monday, Oct. 6. The door will be locked on weekends according to the scheduled events taking place in the building. Currently, the doors of the Wilson School are locked at around 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Donahue explained that the move was a way to increase the precautions taken for students’ safety, but at the same time to accommodate the students who need to use the building after working hours. “It’s a happy medium — we think this will increase safety a lot, but at the same time, we won’t be a fortress,” she explained. She added that, since the last classes at the Wilson School start at 7:30 p.m., students should not have a problem getting into the building for classes.
Donahue said that she thinks the move to lock the doors earlier will go a long way toward increasing the safety of the Wilson School community.
“While it is a private building, there are always people milling about, even after working hours, who are not necessarily connected with the Woodrow Wilson School,” she explained. “For example, when the weather is nice, we always have people hanging out by the fountain at night.”
Donahue added that staff, graduate students and undergraduate students of the Wilson School all have keys to the building, which they can use after the doors are locked.
Donahue also said that the University is in the process of developing a University ID-entrance system for Robertson Hall, which would lock the doors automatically. Currently, DPS officials need to go to the building every night to lock the doors. However, Donahue noted that there’s no set timetable for the addition of the system, due to the fact that Robertson Hall is an old building and that it would require more work than simply replacing the doors.
Donahue stressed the importance of safety and being aware of one's surroundings, and added, “If you’re working late, it’s probably best to close your door.”