By Caleb Diehl & John Rogers /// Editor-in-Chief and News Editor
Updated at 9:55 a.m. on Nov 21.
Prompted by a threatening message on a social media startup with a history of controversial lawsuits, the executive council for the first time in Lewis & Clark history is denying students swipe access to dorms other than their own. Director of Campus Living Sandi Bottemiller said the door locks have already been reconfigured and restricted access is in effect.
“This is kind of a test,” Bottemiller said. “We’re grateful that the executive council sent out such a strong message.”
Director of Campus Safety Tim O’Dwyer would not comment on the new security measures except to say that Campus Safety is collaborating with Portland police to investigate the origin of the post. Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez and Provost Jane Atkinson could not be reached for comment.
On Friday, a user on the social media app Yik Yak posted a gun emojie in response to a reminder to attend the Race Monologues, the finale to the Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies. A second comment read “you’re letting coloreds in the chapel now?” A student brought the posts to the executive council’s attention yesterday. Today, the council sent an email announcing the change to swipe access.
The new measures, while stringent for LC, are tame in comparison with those at nearby colleges and universities. At the University of Oregon, ID cards only allow students access to a limited number of dorms.
Though Yik Yak is not yet a year old, dozens of high schools and colleges across the country have been terrorized by threatening posts. In late September, two students at the University of Southern Mississippi were charged with felonies over their posts. In Atlanta, where Yik Yak is headquartered, Emory University’s student governmentpassed a resolution calling the app, “a platform for hate speech or harassment.”
In the case of a shooting threat in Mobile, Ala. police were able to trace the location of the anonymous post and make an arrest. While campus safety and the Portland police work toward a similar outcome, the change in swipe access is meant to limit the movement of possible threatening figures on campus. Said Bottemiller, “We want to respond to students in a way that shows something is being done.”