Duke may restrict campus access

Aug. 26, 2013 @ 05:39 PM

A Duke University official said Monday the school is considering restricting public access to the campus after Sunday night’s robbery of two men outside Perkins Library on West Campus and holdups earlier this summer at Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president of administration for Duke, said one option the university is discussing is to close some West Campus access roads, including Towerview Drive, in the late evening through early morning.

Cavanaugh said Towerview in particular is often used by drivers to cut through campus, and that barricading it and other roads at night should limit that.

He said drivers could still enter campus using other roads.

University officials have been discussing campus security for months, he said, and last spring hired more police officers and security guards, bringing the university’s security force to an all-time high. He said they’ve also improved outdoor lighting and shrubbery trimming.

No decision has been made on whether restricting access might include Duke’s two other campuses – East and Central.

But Cavanaugh said security is a top priority, adding that the Sunday night robbery was “unacceptable behavior.”

“We’re at a point now of being quite frustrated by this behavior,” he said. “We have very little tolerance for it. It’s fortunate that the last two suspects [in the Duke Gardens robberies] were arrested, and there will be aggressive pursuit of this person from [Sunday] night.”

Cavanaugh said that about 10 p.m. Sunday, a gunman robbed two men - a young alumnus and visitor - outside Perkins Library. The robber fled down Science Drive after taking two laptop computers, two cellphones and credit cards.

He said the victims made their way inside the library, and that police were notified.

“I think any time you see something like that, it’s offensive and frightening,” he said. “And we take it as seriously as we possibly can.”

Cavanaugh said a decision to limit campus access wouldn’t be made lightly, because of the school’s tradition of openness.

“Duke has always prided itself on being an accessible campus,” he said. “But I think that as we continue to see these incidents, [restricting access] is something we need to take a hard look at.”