Students at Trinity residence could soon access main campus through an entrance that was locked after a student was raped in the passageway between the residence and the School of Arts.
The entrance has been locked for almost 10 years.
Cathy Setlogelo, Trinity res manager, told Wits Vuvuzela she was concerned that students living at the res had to go around the block to the turnstiles on Jorissen Street or go through the Jan Smuts turnstile. While students go to campus for lectures and meal times, there are also Wits staff members who attend mass services at the church. “They have to drive all the way around to come and park at the church,” Setlogelo said
The safety risk[pullquote align=”right”]“Why do we want to impose hardship, when we can make life easier?”[/pullquote]
Students making their way to campus in the evening have been flashed by men milling around outside the entrance of the residence.Female students have to ask their fellow male students to accompany them onto the campus, which Setlogelo said was “an inconvenience for the person not going to campus”.
” Why do we want to impose hardship, when we can make life easier” , said Setlogelo. Setlogelo said she has been concerned about the access issue for a long time, but didn’t know who to speak to. “I was unsure of the process” she said.
A larger gate between the residence and main campus is locked during the week as there is no means of controlling people’s access in and out of Trinity Church property. The gate is opened on Sundays to allow more parking space for people attending church services.
Setlogelo said she did not expect Wits to open the larger gate as she could understand the concern of the lack of security. People could walk straight through the church property and onto campus if the gate was open.
Management responds[pullquote align=”right”] “Our prayers have been answered”.[/pullquote]
Rob Kemp, head of campus control, said the little gate that allows entrance onto main campus has been out of use for such a long time as there was “no demand for it in the past”. Kemp said Trinity residence was not a Wits residence and, in the past, many people staying at the res didn’t need access to main campus. So, for security reasons, the turnstile was locked.
Kemp said it was too risky for students to walk through the passage as nobody could help them if they were accosted. “There is nowhere to shelter a guard at the turnstile,” he said. Students would therefore need a security code to use the gate, which is a shorter distance, to access campus. Although the gate and turnstile have not been in use for such a long time, they are in working order and can be reactivated if there is a need.
Kemp said he was willing to speak to the students and res manager to discuss the issue. Setlogela was overjoyed at hearing this, saying ” Our prayers have been answered”In the mean time, Kemp said, it would be better for students to use the turnstile entrance on Jan Smuts as it is better lit, has CCTV and there is a security guard there.