Photo by Clare Hennig/The Gazelle
Over Spring Break, Sama Tower installed safes in all student apartments. Each student was granted an individual safe.
Associate Dean of Students Kenneth Grcich explained what prompted the administration’s actions.
“It’s two-fold,” Grcich explained. “It was from the idea that you guys maintain really important documents, laptops and valuables — that you’d have a place to put your items safely. And it was also in response to an incident that took place a long time ago.”
No further comment on the incident was given but talk of past cases of theft has been circulating the NYUAD community.
Last year, sophomore Sachith Cheravatur's laptop went missing from his room. He was shocked to discover that Sama Tower was not as safe as he thought.
“I didn't think it was this unsafe,” Cheravatur said. “It is not safe enough in Sama to leave your belongings open in your own room.”
Since the incident, Cheravatur keeps his laptop and other expensive things locked in a drawer.
“I lock my laptop away anytime I have to leave the room,” he said.
Although he is cautious about security in Sama Tower, Cheravatur has yet to use his safe. However, he admits that it could be useful.
“As to whether the safes are useful depends on how comfortable you feel leaving your belongings locked in a metal box compared to a wooden drawer,” Cheravatur said. He plans to use the safe when he leaves Sama Tower for extended periods of time.
“I guess some people would feel safer with it locked away in a nice password locked metal box,” Cheravatur concluded.
Despite rumours, many students still maintain an open-door culture and have no interest in using their new safes.
“I just don't want to get up and open the door for people,” freshman Krishan Mistry said. “So our door is always open.”
Mistry is not concerned about potential theft in Sama Tower.
“I feel like it's not a big problem. I don't know anyone who uses the safes. Nobody has even set up the safes.”
Echoing this sentiment, freshman Geo Kamus explained why he hasn’t yet set up his safe.
“I didn’t want to because I feel like I would forget the password and it would remain closed forever,” Kamus said. “I haven’t been using the safes in my room. I use my side drawer, it has a key and lock.”
“I literally could not find my safe,” said freshman Daniel Mountcastle. “Mine is right behind my door, underneath the kitchen counter. So even if I would potentially put stuff in my safe and someone came into my apartment, they would hit me with the door.”
Students in NYUAD are not the only ones who feel secure leaving their doors unlocked and belongings unguarded.
“Freshman year [at NYU], there was a big open-door policy,” NYUNY junior James Purce said, describing his experience in New York. “No one locked their doors, no one carried around keys. Everything was unlocked. I would leave my computer, my wallet, my phone, everything in my room and not have to worry about anybody taking it because nobody would.”
Despite the initial reactions from students, NYUAD administration remains optimistic.
“It’s a new initiative,” Grcich said. “Maybe it will take a little bit of time for the students get used to the idea of even having the option of putting their stuff in there. I think that part of it is that everyone feels so safe already, which is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing if you have someone in your community who is less than ethical.”
“I hope [the students] use them,” Grcich added with a chuckle.
Security will be tighter at the new campus in Sadiyaat. In addition to the safes, which will be moved to the new campus from Sama Tower, the residence hall room doors will reportedly only open by swiping one’s ID card.
Joey Bui is a staff writer. Clare Hennig is features editor. Email them at email@example.com.