New ID Policy Aims To Curb Crime At TSU
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee State University (TSU) is implementing a new policy to keep students and staff safe. The changes come after a rash of vandalism and a shooting this school year on campus.
It's already difficult for students to get around campus without identification.
"I use it going to the cafeteria, going in and out of my dorm and driving on campus," freshman Xavier Johnson explained about the importance of his identification.
A new policy has students and staff lining the halls at the campus police department. Each one is required to get a new photo identification. Starting on March 1st it must be prominently displayed while on campus.
The current policy requires everyone to be able to present identification only when asked.
"It kind of reminds me of high school," Johnson said. "I guess it's okay. It's a public University."
Both the technology and design has changed on the new badges. A built in chip can now restrict access to certain areas and track who is entering different buildings.
"That gives us another arm to aide our students in identifying potential problems on the campus," Dr. Curtis Johnson, Associate Vice President for Administration said.
He is overseeing the implementation of the changes.
The problems Johnson is referring to have lead to crime. In the fall there was a rash of vandalism on campus. In January there was a shooting near one of the dorms. The victim was not a TSU student.
"It's important that we all know who's a student for our own personal safety," junior Thommé Davis said. "A lot of students don't understand why we're getting this or they find it annoying."
The change is part of a broader effort to improve safety. The University has held a series of forums to address the problems and concerns. In response, Dr. Johnson explained the University has also, "put in some additional lighting. We've hired additional staffing. We've put in new access points."
The line at the Police Department moved slowly as students and staff waited for their new identification. However some say it's a minor inconvenience to keep them safe.
"It might stink at the beginning, but it will be for our good at the end," Davis said. "I'm excited."