Improve Safety and Security on West Campus Residential Halls

Improve Safety and Security on West Campus Residential Halls

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UIC West Student Staff started this petition to University of Illinois at Chicago and

To whom it may concern, 

On Sunday evening of January 30th, 2022, a situation occurred where a wanted felon committed acts of Domestic Violence within the residence hall of UIC. There is an incident report on file that was completed during the situation and sent off immediately. This situation had a negative impact on our residential life student staff workers.

The desk worker was terrified and too afraid to make any sudden movements as she felt her life was in grave danger. She was in a state of emotional distress, which prevented her from taking action to pick up the phone and call the police. Two RAs reported to the scene as indicated in their job description, and witnessed the man choking the victim out. They recognized how detrimental the situation was to them and was incapable of properly de-escalating the situation. They hid around the corner to call the police who arrived on the scene 20 minutes into the brawl. 

We, campus housing student staff have made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that we are extremely concerned for our safety. This situation should have never happened, but it did and we are put on the front line to handle situations that we are not qualified for. We have seen no action from campus housing, so we have decided to take matters into our own hands by holding the director and administrative staff of Campus Housing accountable for their negligence to our safety and well-being and exploiting us by disregarding our status as students and emphasizing our role as employees and campus security.

There are a couple of things that could have been done to possibly prevent situations like this from occurring and even after it happened, nothing has been done that we know of. None of the administrative staff have reached out to any of the students who were involved to see how they can properly be supported. In Fact, UICPD did not send out a Public Safety Advisory notice when issues like this occur on or around Campus. The perpetrator and his belongings suddenly disappeared from the building without a trace; the police are not aware of his whereabouts. The fact that he was able to get back into the building and escape without being caught means the risk of students and staff being in imminent danger is significantly high.

The RA and Desk Worker job description is attached to this email and does not display any requirements for security or any of the other jobs that Campus Housing imposes on its student staff. This makes us feel unsafe, unheard and uncared for. We are coming forward to request Campus Housing to adhere to changing their policies and not making student staff responsible for moderate to high-risk situations, such as the one that occurs through IMD Guest Housing - a separate entity of Campus Housing.  

We propose that the most appropriate safety measures that should be in place for Campus Housing student workers include the following: 

  1. Full-time trained security, sitting in the lounge of each desk area who are ready to handle and de-escalate situations accordingly.
  2. A buzzer that unlocks the door at SSR so desk workers are not forced to get up from behind the desk to open the door for anyone trying to gain access to the building; such as delivery drivers and guests of residents.  
  3. Security gates placed at each desk area before any resident or occupant is able to gain entry to the elevators.  
  4. An emergency button that signals UICPD to respond to situations in time increments much shorter than a 20-minute span.
  5. Immediate relief of all duties set in place for a reasonable period of time and offered free counseling sessions and other mental health resources (In the event another catastrophe occurs and a student worker is caught in the middle of it.)
  6. Limiting the access that IMD Guests have to the building. Such as only allowing them to enter the building through the Polk entrance, which will allow Campus Housing to track them and their guests and make the implementation of the new ID system easier. 

There is absolutely no reason why student desk workers and other student staff should be told to be on the lookout for a menacing individual, even if the police are unable to arrest. Campus Housing’s complicitness in this situation is highly unacceptable and far too many of us are disappointed in their lackluster reactions and responses. This is not a situation that should be kept under wraps for the sake of reputation and monetary funds. We are demanding Campus Housing to follow immediate suit with reconsidering their policies and rehiring security for better safety of the building.

This is an unfair treatment for students who take on this “opportunity” as a means of paying tuition and developing their character for a career after graduation. We hope that this proposal will be taken seriously and Campus Housing will pay their due diligence to change their work conditions and the way they treat student staff as soon as possible.


UIC Campus Housing West RAs and Desk Workers

505 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!