A security oversight left bathroom flex pass locks disabled and allowed a man to enter a women’s bathroom Friday at Connor Residence Hall, housing officials said.
UNC junior Laura Carroll said she was showering at approximately 3 a.m. when she noticed that a man had entered the bathroom and was watching her through a gap in the shower curtain. She chased the man out of the bathroom, found the resident adviser and called the police.
Director of Housing and Residential Education Larry Hicks said the bathroom flex pass locks at Connor were deactivated for a group that stayed in the residence hall during the summer and had been disabled since.
“They were supposed to be re-engaged, and they were not,” he said. “It just fell under the radar.”
Connor is one of a handful of residence halls that requires a flex pass to enter not just the building, but a hall bathroom as well. While the flex pass locks on the exterior doors of the building are working, the bathroom door locks were not operational until 5 p.m. Friday, at the insistence of the RAs and police officers who initially responded to the incident.
“This was just a safety measure that was already in place that wasn’t being used,” Carroll said.
Hicks said there are no rules regarding bathroom flex pass locks — but he is working to standardize their use.
Housing officials said resident resistance is an ongoing challenge to the installation of the locks. Rick Bradley, associate director of housing and residential education, said many students would rather go without them. He said students find ways to get around the locks, such as breaking them.
“For years, it’s been an ongoing battle to make residents aware that they are there for safety,” he said.
All requests regarding the activation or disabling of flex pass locks are dealt with by the housing support lock shop.
“The police officers really emphasized that that needed to happen,” Carroll said.
This isn’t the first time Carroll has experienced safety concerns at Connor Hall. She said the first floor sees a lot of outside visitors, some who walk through locked doors by following residents.
As a three-time survivor of sexual assault, Carroll said she feels relieved to know that the bathrooms are more secure with the reactivated flex passes.
“It’s easy to tailgate into a building, you know, people naturally want to hold the door open for the person behind them,” Carroll said. “It’s hard to tailgate into a bathroom.”
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