Students living in the South Hill and Hartley Grove residences at Glen Eyre were left fuming on Tuesday after door codes to their rooms were changed without sufficient warning.
Residents on the Chamberlain complex were left unsure whether to leave their rooms or not and several students returned home only to find themselves locked out.
However the University has told the Wessex Scene that security at the Glen Eyre complex “may have been compromised”, and that “changing the codes was a matter of urgency.”
The University added “We appreciate that this may have caused inconvenience to some students, however student security always comes first.”
Halls staff put up notices of the changes to codes on doors, but students vented their anger on Facebook over the lack of warning and explanation given.
A first year English student told the Wessex Scene: “I know a lot of residents were pretty annoyed, and some chose not to leave their flats until they could find out more information, which would have obviously disrupted their plans for the day. Not to mention that we’ve just started exams so after a hard day of work at Hartley, it would have been less than convenient to find out that you’ve been locked out of your flat.”
Can you imagine how pissed you’d be next year if your landlord just decided on a whim to change the locks, and left a pathetic note saying you could come collect your new keys from the estate agent??Chamberlain ResidentFacebook Post
Ironically, the confusion resulted in further security risks as the new door codes were shared over the South Hill and Hartley Grove Facebook page, which as a public page allows anyone to view content.
The Chamberlain JCR, who represent students living at South Hill and Hartley Grove, were also not informed of the decision to change door codes to accommodation and laundry facilities.
JCR President David Gunns said to the Scene that “To deal with the issue, the JCR has been proactive in contacting SUSU, who are in correspondence with the university via the relevant VP’s and department managers. We will also be making a complaint of our own. We wish to work with halls management to put safeguards in place to ensure this does not happen again.”
“Students popping out to check for post or collect a shopping delivery returned to find they were locked out of their halls in freezing temperatures. Quite how they expected 400 of us to go to Glen Eyre Reception, interrupting crucial revision in the middle of our first set of exams is beyond me!”
“We agree that student security is of paramount importance, but the current policy on changing door codes is definitely in need of reform.”
He also warned students about sharing door codes over Facebook, deleting posts made by individuals and advising them to share such sensitive information only through private messaging.
In a statement the University defended its actions:
“Students were notified of the changes to codes via notices on their doors. These notices informed students that new codes could be retrieved from the main Glen Eyre reception, which is open 24 hours a day. This way of informing students is standard University procedure, as it is the most secure and direct way of doing so at short notice.
“Student safety and security is of paramount importance to us. If we have reason to believe that safety and security may have been compromised, we do not hesitate to take action at short notice. Due to the urgent nature of the matter, it is not always possible to inform JCRs in advance.”
The students’ union responded to the events, with VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy saying “We understand that security is very important within halls, as it is in anyone’s home.
“[VP Welfare and Communities Frankie Fry] and I will now be working with the University going forward as to the best ways to quickly communicate with students in halls. We are also working closely with the University on a longer term solution on issues surrounding key coded access to residences.”