BY MANISH PARIKH
Published March 1, 2013
As the president of the student body here at Michigan, the safety of all 42,000 wolverines is always at the forefront of my mind. Whether it’s creating safety and self-defense workshops for women, attempting to increase the number of blue lights on campus or even changing our sexual misconduct policy to encourage more survivors come forward, the safety of our campus community is a top priority for me.
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But as an everyday student on campus, my own personal safety and well-being are top priorities for my parents.
You might have recently heard about reports three of sexual assaults by a resident of Zaragon Place. As a past resident of Zaragon, who has lived at these apartments for over half of my time here in Ann Arbor, let me outline just why this building is among the safest apartment buildings anywhere in Ann Arbor and just why my parents asked me to live here after visiting over 10 campus properties.
The building has a sophisticated CCTV security system, which covers every single entry and exit point in the building. Last year a handful of residents asked building management to put additional cameras in the elevators. Within a few weeks the cameras were installed.
Electronic key card entry is something that I was quite marveled by when I had first moved there. In order to enter the building you must have a unique access card or be buzzed in electronically by your friends. This is a close to fool proof system of keeping miscreants out. The apartment doors have some of the most complex and high-tech locks. On an aside, when I lost the key to my apartment during sophomore year and asked building management for a new key, they flat out refused saying that they would install a new lock altogether as someone else may have picked up my old key. They covered the cost and wouldn’t let me pay a dime.
The security guard who mans the building during high-traffic hours is extremely friendly and kind. He also, however, is a no-nonsense person who will not allow you to enter the building unless your friends come down to get you. This was mildly annoying at the time, but now I know just why it’s important. He would also regularly patrol every floor (especially during parties) to make sure nothing too crazy was going on.
The recent reports of sexual assaults at Zaragon are deeply unfortunate, but it is critically important to note that this incident could have occurred just about anywhere. It could have occurred at the swanky Trump Towers apartments, it could have happened at the finest Hilton in America and it could happen in any environment where excessive alcohol and one senseless individual were involved.
When thinking about the safety of Zaragon place we shouldn’t look at this isolated incident but instead look at how the building management responded to the incident. From what I hear, within 12 hours of the report the management commenced with an “expedited eviction” process. Also the management has discussed the possibility of internal alcohol education courses and even stricter screening processes when signing on new tenants.
I have extremely fond memories of Zaragon; It has always been and will remain one of the safest apartment building on campus. While I salute the building management for their speedy response, it’s up to us the students to always drink responsibly, but more importantly to treat all women with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Manish Parikh is a Business senior and president of the Central Student Government.