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People who work late nights alone, like Igor Khitrov, can use a check-in system letting security know their whereabouts.
Angela Larsen/the Gauntlet

Working Alone

New system 'peace of mind' for late workers

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A new web-based check-in, check-out system is paving the way for a safer campus.

The University of Calgary's new system, Working Alone, is intended for use by students, faculty and staff who are on campus alone, particularly at night or outside of normal work hours, said Campus Security manager Ken Kress.

"It gives some people peace of mind," he said.

"It's a personal choice if they wish to use it or not. It allows us to give people some sense of security on campus when they're here, especially when they're working late or alone."

U of C workers are encouraged to register through the Working Alone link on MyUofC and clicking on the Working Alone link. While some fields don't need to be filled in -- name, department and log in time -- workers are required to enter information regarding their work location (building and room), phone number and the time they intend to leave.

After a person registers, they need to keep their browser window open so they can be notified about their time out session. After the system beeps and a pop up reminder appears every minute until the time out session expires, workers have approximately 10 minutes to log off before security is alerted.

Security officers can check up on a person based on the information they provide. If, for example, someone fails to log out of the system at their designated time, an alert will be sent to the Campus Security control room. Security will then contact the person by phone. If no one answers, a security officer will be dispatched to a person's work place in case of an emergency.

The Working Alone system allows people to feel more protected, said Women's Resource Centre program co-ordinator Jocelyn Kelln. Even without a security measure like the new program in place, the WRC encourages women to use other security measures on a regular basis.

"We would definitely let [women] know about services on campus like Safewalk, make sure that they're familiar with Campus Security, and then I would just encourage them to make sure they're in contact with someone, either a family [member] or friend who knows where they are and knows what time to expect them," said Kelln.

Minnie Chen, a second-year business student at the U of C, who has been working at the Information Centre in MacEwan Student Centre since January, said the new Working Alone system would be useful for people who typically work by themselves.

"Even though [I work] in a pretty public place, things can happen," said Chen.

"Sometimes if you're working by yourself in an office I think it's a good idea so they know something has gone wrong."

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