Facilities workers determined that it was possible to break into a locked University Forest Apartment using a flimsy card, such as a SpiderCard, said Carolyn Bigler, assistant director of student housing.

In response to this security issue, University of Richmond facilities employees will install metal security plates around the door handles of every apartment to prevent intruders from entering locked residences with cards, said Susie Reid, director of operations and maintenance services.

Facilities has placed an order for these plates, and the installation process will begin next week, Reid said.

Although it is highly unlikely that an intruder could break into an apartment when the dead-bolt latch is used, facilities determined that it was possible to break into some of the apartments when only the door handle was locked.

Senior Colby Sheffer, the Westhampton College victim who reported that a male intruder entered her locked apartment on Oct. 19, said: "I know that students' safety is the university's top priority, especially during this time of heightened fear. This new security implementation will definitely help me sleep at night."

The metal security plates will obstruct gaps that have formed between the door and the doorframe on some of the apartments, preventing an intruder from accessing the residence using a credit card or Spidercard, Reid said.

"[WCGA and RCSGA] have full faith in the administration and URPD," said Ali Amaral, president of the Westhampton College Government Association, "and we will do whatever we can to aid in their efforts to make our campus a safer place."

Westhampton College is in the process of organizing the first of many security group meetings, which will consist of student senate members and serve as the basis for ongoing collaboration between the student government and URPD, Amaral said.

Facilities is coordinating a large group of its staff to have the security plates installed as quickly as possible, Reid said. The installation process is expected to be finished by the middle of next week, Reid said.

Contact staff writer Fred Shaia at fred.shaia@richmond.edu