Opening The Door for Discussion: Security Town Hall Meetings

Image from Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Website.

A recent town hall meeting invited all students to participate in a discussion about security and the future of campus safety. If you were unable to attend, The Acronym has got you covered.

Understanding Security

If there is one thing that Mr. Willie Mayes, Campus Safety and Security Operations Director, wanted students to take away from the town hall was that he makes decisions for the best interest of the whole and not the individual. Many questions students asked pertained to making aspects of campus life more beneficial for certain parts of the student body (for example, opening Door 13 to accommodate students who live in residence hall 1507). His response was that he had to make the best decision for campus safety as a whole. By limiting the number of entrances both students and faculty can use, the number of potential intruders who can enter the building is also limited.

Another important topic of discussion was identification. Finding their ID to show to security is frequently the bane of IMSA students who are rushing to class and are only minutes away from receiving their final attendance point, putting them at risk of failing the class, but this practice is critical. This is especially true given the two major security incidents that have occurred this year. The security guidelines state that you must have your ID visible at all times; having your ID visible when entering the building is required. 

Having your ID visible when you enter the building is for everyone’s safety because it shows that everyone in the building belongs there, and those who don’t have the proper identification will be questioned further. Mr. Mayes stated that if you do not have your ID and attempt to enter, security may raise their voice to get your attention, but this is not personal and is done for the safety of the school.


The three security objectives that pervaded the town hall were attendance at the town halls, communication between security and students, and the reopening of the other entrances.


Once a month, security plans to hold town halls for students to ask questions and make suggestions for security improvements. It is, however, up to us students to attend. Mr. Mayes desires that at least four students from each class attend the town halls. This way, important information from the town halls can be relayed to the student body and general concerns from each grade can be addressed. Those who attend the town hall will also receive free pizza.


It is critical that security and students communicate. This and last year, the relationship between students and security was strained due to altercations caused by students not having IDs or entering the wrong door. These negative experiences have caused some students to feel unsafe seeing security when entering the building, or when they are patrolling the hallways or entering residence halls. Furthermore, some students have made disparaging remarks about security personnel, dismissing them despite the fact that they keep us safe.

This should not be the case.

Security is there to protect us and our campus, so students’ relationship with security mustn’t be based in fear, but in respect and amiability. Mr. Mayes encourages students to say ‘hello’ to security officers in the hallways, get to know the people at the main desk, and generally treat each other with respect.

The Doors

The doors were one of the most discussed topics at the town hall. It has been four months since the intruder incident, and the doors have not been opened except on days when temperatures were in the single digits. Many students may be wondering why. The answer turns out to be a lack of student discipline.

Despite security telling students not to use those doors, many students exited through doors 6 and 13. Despite security instructing students not to hold doors for others and to fob in every time they enter the building, an alarming number of students continue to hold doors for others at the main entrance, which is how the intruder entered the building the first time. The reason the doors aren’t open is due to students failing to follow instructions, rather than residual fear from the intruder incident.


The security town halls are a great way for students to connect with the protectors of their campus and provide feedback on what they believe should be changed. However, in order for these changes to take effect, security requires your participation in the town hall meetings. Consider going to the security town hall the next time you have a question about the reopening of the doors or your general safety on campus.

About the Author

David Dickson
I am from a noble village in Illinois. You might not have heard of it, but it is called Chicago. I enjoy writing, listening to different types of music, computer games, and singing. Everywhere.

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