As a Florida lawyer who sues universities for not having proper security and a former resident of the University of Miami’s Mahoney Residential College dormitory I was alarmed to read about the recent arrest of Jiahao Yuan, the Chinese exchange student was found “inappropriately touching” two sleeping co-eds.
What disturbed me the most, as a Miami lawyer who represents victims of sexual assault was not the fact that it took the University of Miami Campus Police nearly six hours to apprehend Mr. Yuan; but that the girls were apparently sleeping with their dorm-room doors unlocked. I personally lived in Mahoney some twenty five years ago, and it does not seem as though security at the University of Miami has improved much from my days as an undergrad in the 1980’s.
The Coral Gables campus, like many colleges and universities across the country, is virtually a city within a city. Some estimate that there is a rape on an American college campus every 21 hours. In 47% of college rape, the victim receives physical injury.
Here are seven things our Miami campus injury attorneys recommend be implemented to increase dormitory security:
1. Dorm rooms should be equipped with the same self-locking key card doors that are found in both hotels and on cruise ships.
2. Doors should be equipped with a peephole.
3. Card keys should be re-calibrated every semester to avoid duplications.
4. Elevators should be equipped with a card key limiting access to certain floors.
5. Floors should be equipped with sensor lights are triggered by movement.
6. Digital recording surveillance cameras should be installed on each dorm floor with someone watching from both a front desk and a central security command center.
7. Foot patrols by trained security personnel should inspect floors on both a scheduled and random basis.
Most college campus violence occurs during the weekends when there are less students, faculty and administration on campus. Until universities and colleges take the appropriate actions to protect their students from both intruders from within and outside campus, our students will be at risk.
Thankfully, the twp University of Miami girls who were assaulted were not more seriously injured. However, this should be a warning sign to students and their parents across the United States, that college campuses are little cities within a city.