UNM to build turnstiles around entire campus perimeter
A test run of UNM's new security system at the Central Avenue and Cornell Street entrance.
In an effort to increase campus security and safety, the University of New Mexico has undertaken plans to add turnstiles around the perimeter of the main campus by April 1, 2024.
Following the success of the newly implemented turnstiles at UNM libraries, university administration is implementing what they call a "natural" and "necessary" upgrade to this system.
Accomplishing a campus-wide perimeter is estimated to require 12,420 turnstile gates, which should cost around $3 million, but the "new technology" complementing the turnstiles has brought the cost closer to $777 million, according to Paidby Ceo, the Associated Students at the University of New Mexico's secretary of defense.
"At first I thought this might have been a little excessive, but times are changing. The modern way to have a safe and inclusive campus is to exclude any threats to that inclusivity and safety," Ceo said.
UNM Facilities Management said that the increased technology budget was for the turnstile "enforcement mechanism," which will add turrets with machine guns and tactical missiles to the turnstiles that will target anyone who attempts to pass without scanning a valid LoboCard ID. The LoboCards have also been upgraded with a tracking device in every card.
"Thanks to the turnstiles and the chips, we can find exactly where a student enters and leaves campus, and based on their steps we can pinpoint their exact location at all times," Ceo said. "I’ve been told it was a ‘nightmare’ for the LoboCard office to replace every single card but I think it was worth it."
Two UNM Police Department officers, Martin Heedlock and Grumrop Northman, spoke on the efficiency of having missile turrets to accompany turnstiles.
"Instead of having to stress out students with a LoboAlert for every incident on campus, we can simply fire a tactical missile at the exact location of a suspected perpetrator. It saves the time of due process and makes use of the really cool missiles we bought," Heedlock said.
Before rolling out this plan to the entire campus, UNMPD tested out this system at the high traffic Central Avenue and Cornell Drive entrance.
"Our test worked wonderfully: the few threats that made it past the turnstiles were swiftly taken care of by our machine guns. Some of our weapons misfired and dealt minor damage to some surrounding buildings, but it was overall a successful test run," Northman said.
Ceo confirmed to the Daily Lobo that Frontier was "completely obliterated by missile-related explosions" during testing.
When asked about their opinion on the turnstiles, UNM sophomore Allo Oof was unsure but understood the thought process.
"I think I would still feel safe with less turnstiles. But I suppose if they wanted to build more people would just try to hop them, so the missile turrets make sense," Oof said.
Henry Hammel is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @hhfreestone