By Lauren Toole
The Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) increased security measures at the facility last week following two separate incidents of reported public indecency. These preventative tactics will develop as the year progresses and become part of a larger security initiative at the KAC, according to Justin Newell, assistant director of athletics and director of the KAC.
On Tuesday, Sept. 18 around 4:30 p.m., a female student-athlete reported that an older man had peeked his head into the female athlete locker rooms twice while she was showering. Newell and Equipment Manager and Assistant Facility Coordinator Chris Cowles inspected the building and found no one matching the description given.
At the time, not much was done, Newell said. The student-athlete kind of described him as confused, so we thought maybe he had just walked into the wrong locker room. Campus Safety was not called.
The following night at 7:30 p.m., Newell received a call at home informing him that another female student-athlete had reported a man watching her shower in the recreational locker rooms. This time, however, he was naked. An email sent to student-athletes after the incident described the man as balding, with a hairy body and a tattoo on his upper right arm.
Safety was immediately contacted, and Safety and Newell arrived about 15 minutes after the call was made, according to both Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper and Newell. They inspected the building, but did not find anyone matching the description.
We feel like we missed an opportunity with the time period lapse, Newell said. We inspected the whole building again, but no one was there.
Uncertainty surrounding the description of the individual also made the search problematic. It makes it pretty difficult for us to follow through when the description we had could have been a hundred different people, said Hooper.
The motive of the individual is also unknown at this time, Hooper said. Was it somebody who just got confused about what door to go into? he said. Was it on purpose?
Although many unanswered questions still surround the events, the Athletics Department and Campus Safety have made a cooperative effort to increase security, according to Hooper. After the incidents, all locker room doors, recreational and athletic, were locked, and only a KAC staff member could let users in. As of Monday, Sept. 24, locker room doors must be shut at all times. For now, a student worker will check all Kenyon ID cards at a makeshift desk located by the front doors of the KAC. Newell does not know how long this policy will continue.
These more immediate measures are indicative of a longer-term safety initiative Newell said he hopes to institute at the KAC. This is Newells first year, and he said that when he first arrived at Kenyon, I felt like the building was a little insecure anyway.
The KAC administrators are currently pricing out different access system options for the locker rooms to make sure only authorized individuals can access those spaces. Newell said they are also looking at installing video surveillance outside the locker areas.
Permanently moving the front desk closer to the KACs entrance and making ID checks mandatory are both measures under consideration, said Newell.
These steps are meant to prevent similar incidents from happening again and provide more information if they do. [These measures will] increase the security of everyones belongings as well as the safety of our students, which is my number one concern, Newell said.