Students return to metal detectors in dorms

Amidst the recent gun violence incidents around Morgan’s campus, the administration moved to install metal detectors in every on-campus dorm as a part of a campus safety initiative.


Elijah Pittman

Metal detectors are now installed in every on-campus dorm at Morgan State University as a part of a campus safety initiative.

Elijah Pittman, Staff Writer

As students moved back into their dorms for the spring semester, they were surprised with metal detectors at the entrances.

Kevin Banks, vice president of student affairs, says it is due to violence near campus.

During the fall semester, the Morgan State community saw a total of three shootings both around and on campus.

The first shooting was at the Marble Hall Gardens housing complex, the second was on campus at the student center, and the third was at the nearby gas station in Northwood Commons.

Over the last five years, the university has seen many accounts of gun violence, both on and off campus housing. The idea to install metal detectors in dorms in response to gun violence has been considered by the administration since 2018

“I just felt that it was the right decision for the safety and well-being of our community,” Banks said in regard to the new installation of metal detectors in dorms. 

Banks continued to explain that since Morgan is an open campus, the detectors were the best decision to begin securing the campus among other solutions like arming security guards, walling off the campus, or requiring students to wear their IDs. 

Jackson State University is the only other university with a publicly documented installation of metal detectors inside student dormitories, whereas other universities have responded to crime with an increase in security on campus. 

“I can’t worry about what other universities are doing or not doing, I have to protect students at Morgan State University,” said Banks in regard to security policies by other universities. 

Banks cited both assaults in dorms and the finding of students in possession of firearms on campus as the need for metal detectors. “We really can’t take any chances at this time,” he said. 

The detectors are only present in on-campus housing facilities, and not off-campus housing where gun violence has occurred, which Banks said is due to the lack of jurisdiction held by the university over those locations. 

Metal detectors located in the Harper-Tubman House. (Thalya Baptiste)

Many students have taken to social media platforms like Sidechat to vent their frustrations about the metal detectors, calling them a “waste of money” and “terrible because they go off for nothing.” 

“I feel like they really need to worry about people off campus who are bringing guns and causing violence on campus, everybody on campus is here to get our education,” said Lawrence Wright III, freshman construction management major, in reference to violence off campus. 

The addition of metal detectors to campus came alongside other restrictions like the restriction of TikTok usage on campus wifi and the confusion around the recently debunked dining hall rules. The restrictions added to the strain on the relationship between students and the administration. 

“Hopefully in some areas, we’re going to come to some compromise, so I look forward to working with students,” said Banks who cited the university’s inter-residence hall council (IRC), the student government, and the Spokesman as vehicles for mending the relationship with the student body.