Shower incident prompts security change at Manhattan College

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Following a winter incident in which an unknown person was discovered recording a female Manhattan College student in a dormitory shower, the college planned a safety overhaul at dormitories, but is still in the process of implementing

Juan Cerezo, the college’s director of public safety, confirmed that on Feb. 18 at around 9 p.m., a female student was showering on the third floor of Jasper Hall, a dormitory on campus, when she saw an individual holding a smart phone at the shower partition opening. After she screamed, the perpetrator fled out the bathroom and down the stairwell. 

The NYPD closed the case due to an insufficient description of the perpetrator. After the incident, the college planned to implement a key card system outside each bathroom in the dormitories, allowing only students with a key card to swipe into the showers. 

A spokesman from the college confirmed that a key card system for female students in Jasper and Chrystostom Halls will be completed by Friday, Oct. 17. Female students from those dorms will be able to swipe with their ID cards to gain entry to the female bathrooms in the dormitory halls. 

The college also plans to install a key card system for the male bathrooms, though the spokesman did not provide a date for that system’s completion. 

Students confirmed that since the incident, they have been able to enter and exit the bathrooms and showers freely without the use of a keycard. Several freshmen reported they were not aware that a system of any sort was being implemented. 

“People just walk in and out of the bathrooms. There’s nothing to swipe,” said sophomore Vanessa Valencia, 19. “It’s kind of creepy when you’re showering at night. Someone might come in.” 

Brother Robert Berger, the resident director for Jasper Hall, said the keycard system was a necessary safety measure.

“Even once is too much,” he said of the February incident. 

He added that once the system is implemented, only students who live on a particular floor will be able to access the shower rooms on that floor. 

“That in itself will be a peace of mind for the student taking a shower,” he said. 

After the incident, the school’s public safety officer sent each student an e-mail outlining safety tips in dormitories. Each residence hall has female and male security officers, as well as trained residence hall staff, 24 hours a day. 

Freshman Jordan Bautsch, 18, said she will feel safer once the system is implemented.

“At four in the morning, anyone could walk in. If they wanted to put a camera in, they could,” she said. 

“It would honestly be safer,” agreed freshman Alex Iaquinto, 17.