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University of Massachusetts hiring outside consultant to review dorm security at Amherst campus

Prompted in part by an alleged gang rape that occurred at a University of Massachusetts dormitory in October, the university will hire an outside consultant to review security at its 45 campus residence halls.

Police Chief John Horvath announced the plan last week.

“UMass Amherst has a long-standing commitment to student safety, and this review will identify the strengths and any shortcomings of our current system while making recommendations based on best practices in the field,” Horvath said in a statement. “An independent set of eyes will serve us well.”

This will be part of a coordinated review and response to campus security following the alleged rape of a UMass student, in her dorm room, by four non-students from Pittsfield, he said.

The men allegedly were signed into the dormitory, as required by the school for visitors after 8 p.m. The alleged victim was not the person who let them in.

Proposals for the review are due Dec. 21. A committee will select finalists by the week of Jan. 7 and Horvath expects to select one of them during the spring semester.

The consultant will provide an independent examination of existing security measures at the residence halls on campus, where more than 12,000 students live.

The work will include:

∎ collaborating with a working group chosen by the university;

∎ outlining strengths of residence hall security and ways to improve it to meet best practices;

∎ conducting a review of existing policies, procedures and practices, with a focus on guest registration;

∎ reviewing physical layouts of residence halls for possible security improvements.

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