Poor Equipment, Breached Policies Blamed in Eshleman Security Lapses





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Reports of inefficient security at Eshleman Hall have prompted ASUC officials to explore heightened safety measures.

Every day, 200 to 500 people enter Eshleman Hall, which houses the headquarters for the student government, student groups, the ASUC Auxiliary.

Student security officers and ASUC officials have cited broken security equipment, students' refusals to present identification cards and security cameras that do not record as risks to the safety of those who work in the building.

Though the building's cameras project live-feed images onto television screens monitored by staff during the day, there is often no tape to record any images late at night when the security officers have left, according to one security monitor, who wished to remain anonymous.

Because the security camera images were not recorded Monday night, the UC Police investigation into the theft of 3,000 copies of The California Patriot has been inhibited. The magazines were stolen from the publication's third floor office in Eshleman Hall that night.

Out of Eshleman Hall's seven floors, security cameras cover three. But one of them is not working, said Deborah Baird, operations manager of the ASUC Auxiliary, which is in charge of the building.

The security measures were implemented in Eshleman Hall in 1992 after the stabbing death of UC Berkeley junior Grace Asuncion. She was killed on the fifth floor of Eshleman Hall around 5 p.m. The identity of her killer remains unknown and the case is still open.

Some students who work in Eshleman Hall expressed concern about the lack of security in the building.

"That scares me, knowing that (the building is) not fully secured," said Mercedes Gaskin, a UC Berkeley sophomore who works on the third floor. "There (would be) no evidence to catch the perpetrators."

Currently ASUC Auxiliary officials are evaluating campus security and may adopt new safety measures that would place video cameras on the lobby of every floor in Eshleman Hall and install a new online-camera system that would be monitored by UCPD. The proposed additions would cost $25,000, Baird said.

Proposals for improving security also include requiring students to scan their identification cards and replacing the student security officers with security guards.

"An outside service might be able to provide 24-hour security and (present) a more professional image," Baird said.

Despite the proposals to improve security measures, some security staff said the problem is that some people entering the building fail to follow the rules.

For each entry into Eshleman Hall, students and staff must flash their identification cards to the security officer. That rule is routinely ignored.

But not everyone believes that security should be tight in Eshleman Hall.

"I feel security is kind of anal sometimes. I'm not aware of the purpose of (identification checks). It's like (the building) is a vault or something," said UC Berkeley sophomore Devin McIntire.

David Fullmer, ASUC Auxiliary Information Systems Manager, called the security a "catch-22."

"The more security you put in for student safety, the more they rebel against you," he said. "What we do to protect them, they see as us restricting them."

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