Biola students protect the nest

The chief of Campus Safety explains the gaps in the gatehouse keeper schedule.


Briana Byus, Freelance Writer

The campus of Biola University is widely recognized for its safe atmosphere and attentive officers. In 2015, Campus Safety Magazine named chief of Campus Safety John Ojeisekhoba Campus Safety director of the year.

Despite this honorable mention, however, students and parents have expressed concern regarding the sometimes-unguarded gate at the front entrance of campus, according to Ojeisekhoba.

The Unattended Gate

Students like freshman business administration major Ashley Kraning have expressed feeling insecure when the gate is often left unlocked and unattended.

“During the weekends they don’t even have it open or shut. It’s just kind of open to everybody,” Kraning said.

Ideally, all university entrances would be fully staffed from 7 a.m. to 5 a.m. each day, according to Ojeisekhoba. However, as most of the gatehouse attendants are students, availability and willingness are limited. 

“Personally, I prefer if it’s students because students have vested interest here,” Ojeisekhoba said.

Limited funding also affects when Campus Safety can staff its gatehouses. Currently, the gatehouses are not staffed during the morning, holidays, breaks or weekends.

Captain of Campus Safety Jason Camorlinga said that the gatehouse will be fully staffed as of next week when the new employees complete their 40-hour training. Whether it is because student employees drop classes, quit the job or graduate, Campus Safety is in a constant cycle of training new gatehouse keepers to fill the imminent void.

“Ninety-nine percent of the employees who work there are students and it is challenging to have students fill every single shift,” Ojeisekhoba said.

Ojeisekhoba says that students should not worry for their safety even when the gatehouse is left unattended, because Campus Safety weaves its schedule to establish two officers near the area.

Interrogating Visitors

Freshman psychology major Grace Luis said that although she usually feels safe on campus, she becomes concerned when she sees that there are gatehouse keepers on duty but the bar is left up.

“They don’t always close it, so you can just go in,” Luis said.

However, Ojeisekhoba explained the bar is left up during the morning and closed in the evening.

It is not only the hours when the gate is up when students worry, however. Kraning expressed concern as a result of the issues she has seen even while the gate is down from the lack of specific questions visitors are asked when requesting access to the campus.

The Campus Safety department’s 2018 annual security and fire safety report states, “All persons who enter onto property owned or leased by Biola University should be able to demonstrate a legitimate reason to be present on campus.”

According to Ojeisekhoba, visitors must check at least one of the legitimate-reason boxes in order to enter the campus. Officers have been trained to pinpoint potential trespassers and have been tuned to see the red flags a visitor might raise.

“We ask them, ‘Who are you here to visit?’ and they give an ‘um’—there is no name… It’s easy to spot them,” Ojeisekhoba said.

It is the hours when students are sleeping in their dorms or are off campus for breaks, however, when Ojeisekhoba says it is most necessary for Campus Safety to be on guard because of “transients who victimize students.”

“Our number one priority is after darkness—after hours… Summer time, when we don’t have students here, that’s actually our priority,” Ojeisekhoba said.

He emphasized the important role that students play in the reporting of suspicious persons on campus.

“[Students] have been extremely helpful in our quest to keep our campus safe,” Ojeisekhoba said.

[UPDATED: March 20, 5:40 p.m.] This article was updated to include more information regarding the gatehouses’ current schedule.

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