A recent break-in and attempted larceny in the Warner pool locker rooms has angered members of the Eastern Michigan University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, who have been lobbying for increased security in the locker rooms since May 2011.
EMU Director of Media Relations, Geoff Larcom, said Provost Kim Schatzel is working with the AAUP to resolve the locker room security issues.
“Kim is working in collaboration with the union on a proposal for possible revisions to Warner,” Larcom said.
EMU AAUP President Susan Moeller, said she toured the locker rooms with Schatzel and identified several measures to increase security.
“She has assured me that there will be two pool attendants, and there will be more panic buttons put up,” Moeller said. “She also said that the hall outside the swipe card door is very dark so she’s going to have the bulbs replaced.”
Moeller said this is “a win” for the AAUP, but one that has taken almost a year to achieve.
According to the grievance letter filed on Sept. 12, 2011, EMU AAUP Grievance Officer Donna Selman emailed Rec/IM Director Robert England on May 11, 2011. Selman’s email addressed security issues in the locker rooms that the AAUP hoped would be addressed.
The grievance letter was filed because in the months following Selman’s email, the administration allegedly did “nothing to prevent or secure” the locker rooms “from future public relations nightmares and or potential serious crimes.”
The grievance resolution, signed on Oct. 28, by Moeller and Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, David Woike, said measures to increase security of the locker rooms would be “implemented immediately.” Among the measures the resolution listed were the placement of attendants at the locker room entrances and in the pool area.
The AAUP filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge on Nov. 10 because the administration had not yet implemented the security measures listed in the resolution.
Moeller said the union’s biggest concern was the administration still hadn’t assigned attendants to the pool or the locker room entrances.
Administrative Law Judge Julia C. Stern signed the ULP on Nov. 18 and a hearing was scheduled for Jan. 19, 2012.
According to Moeller, EMU administration responded by having a swipe-card system installed in the locker rooms. Moeller said she didn’t think the swipe-card system adequately addressed the security issues, but the AAUP withdrew the ULP anyway because the administration said attendants would be placed at the pool.
“We gave in,” Moeller said. “But we still were told that there were attendants between the pool and the locker room entrance.”
Moeller said the administration assured her attendants were placed at the pool, but faculty members consistently reported none were present.
“They kept telling me they were there,” she said. “We’d send people in and there weren’t or there
was one and not two.”
Despite this, the AAUP did not pursue the matter further.
“We let it go,” Moeller said. “We were tired out.”
The issue remained dormant until the break-in on March 13, 2012.
Moeller heard about the incident from fellow faculty and felt “very angry.”
“I felt frustrated and betrayed after we filed an Unfair Labor Practice, and we withdrew it,” she
According to the report from the EMU Police Department, the incident involved four non-students who followed EMU student Paul Laduca into the Warner locker room.
Despite the size of the group, Laduca didn’t notice they followed him.
“I really don’t know how they gained entry,” Laduca said.
Although the swipe-card system failed to keep the intruders out of the locker room, no
recommendation to place an attendant at the entrance of the locker rooms has officially been made.
Larcom said the provost’s finalized proposal for the locker rooms would be reviewed by the University Health and Safety Committee, which meets next on April 20.
“Our primary focus is the safety of students and staff, and our interest is always in working constructively with the faculty union in resolving any concerns,” Larcom said.