view of hallway in art building

Photo by Carissa Woytach

The fifth floor of Middough features the new key card security scanners.


September 14, 2015

Art building installs new security feature

By Carissa Woytach

Cleveland State University’s Art Department installed new key card scanners outside the studio areas on the fifth floor of the Middough building — which includs painting, drawing and two open studios to increase security at the beginning of the fall semester.
These installations are a result of rumors that at least one homeless individual has been sleeping in the theater space on the fifth floor. An incident report cannot be located because the exact date of the individual’s inhabitance is unknown.

Amara Alberto, junior studio art major, first spoke of the rumors about the individual who chose to use Middough as temporary housing. According to one of her professors, the incident happened late last semester in one of the smaller acting studios, which had been left unlocked to allow students to use the space to practice.

“I guess some security [officers] came in one evening and found a homeless person sleeping in one of the acting studios,” she said. “So after that, [the professors] decided they were no longer going to leave the doors propped. The card scanners happened over the summer, but weirdly they’re only on the art studios — not any of the theaters.”

While no one is arguing that the security measure isn’t appreciated as the Middough building is approximately eight blocks from the heart of main campus — the implementation has been questioned.

The key cards are in the process of being updated, and have had various access problems along the way. Alberto was not able to unlock a studio room until the second week of classes, even though she was signed up for the class.

“I think [the professors] generally like the locks,” she said. “But [one professor] said this morning ‘the university’s policy is to shoot first and ask questions later’ — they didn’t really think it through very well so not all of the systems are working. Though, in theory I like the idea.”

Both the painting and printmaking studios have recently received the key card scanners.

Russ Revock, painting and printmaking professor, agrees with Alberto that the scanners are not without faults, but that the security increase is warranted.

According to Revock, the installation process was spurred not by the homeless resident, but by other security concerns.

“About a year ago, there were some incidents of theft — somebody had left a book bag, something with a laptop in one of the [fifth floor] studios and it walked off,” he said. “So at the end of last school year — as I understand it — the department had some surplus money and Professor Mauersberger suggested that we get these electronic locks for all the other studios.”

While the homeless inhabitant may not have been a deciding factor, Revock noted that he himself had not been officially notified of anything — but had heard rumors circulating.

“I’ve heard that rumor on campus a lot,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s an urban legend or not.”

Marian Bleeke, associate professor of art history and chair of the art department, has also heard the rumors of the homeless person sleeping in the building. While she does not know anything for sure, the location of the building does lend itself to these types of incidents.

“We’re away from the rest of campus, we’re close to the bus station, so that we do have to pay mind to security a little bit more than [buildings] like Main Classroom,” she said. “There are just fewer people around in this building so we do have to be more security conscious.”

With the distance between Middough and main campus, Cleveland State Police only patrol the building once a day.

There is a doorman that is hired by the Middough Corporation — the architecture and design firm that Cleveland State shares the building with — but security is something that everyone in the building has to think about, according to Bleeke.

“You get comfortable in a space and your awareness of security goes down,” she said.

“It’s important that we have these security guides — that’s one of the nice things about the card access, you can leave your stuff in an area and be pretty secure that your stuff is going to be there.”

Even though the key cards were not prompted by a homeless person’s sleeping habits, their added security is appreciated by both students and faculty in Middough.

Amara Alberto believes that once the problems with the system are worked out, their added security and convenience will be invaluable.

“I really like the idea of being able to go in if I arrive at five or six in the morning — which I have before — and go into a studio and be able to work when I feel like it,” Alberto said.

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