In January 2015, UNT received a directive from the State Fire Marshal's Office (SFMO) to examine the bathroom locks in all residential bathrooms to determine if the locks met National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code requirements for Hotels and Dormitories and if locks existed that did not meet those requirements a solution to eliminate the possibility of a person becoming trapped in the bathroom was required. UNT conducted an evaluation of its residence hall bathroom facilities and found that our suite bathroom locks did not meet the NFPA code and we began the process to address the SFMO directive.
UNT explored many alternatives to the bathroom door hardware and was unable to find any that met the NFPA code requirements and provided feasible individual room security. Additionally, UNT was told that the State Fire Marshall's office was not aware of a locking alternative that would meet fire code directive and be approved. Ultimately, UNT decided that removal of the bathroom locks on all suited bathroom doors was the only solution to comply with the State Fire Marshall’s directive. UNT as well as every major university housing operation we have contacted have implemented similar steps to remove non-compliant locks.
The process to remove all suite bathroom locking hardware began in the late summer of 2015 and is continuing during the fall 2015 semester with an expected completion in all residence halls by late October 2015. Halls that have had the update completed include Clark Hall, Crumley Hall, Kerr Hall, Maple Hall and McConnell Hall. As of late September, College Inn, Legends Hall, and Traditions Hall are yet to be completed.
UNT and UNT Housing remain committed to resident safety, security, wellbeing and success through numerous layers and measures of support. Students should use this as an opportunity to engage their suite-mates in a dialog about how to develop boundaries, shared respect and measures to secure the privacy, safety, and security of all students and their friends who are sharing a suite. College should teach our students the skills they need to meet new and different people, engage in meaningful communication, resolve differences, and negotiate shared solutions. UNT Housing staff is encouraging these discussions through RA wing and Hall meetings and are trained and prepared to facilitate these discussions as well as mediate and resolve suite-mate issues.
UNT and UNT Housing do not condone individual measures for residents to circumvent the State Fire Marshall's directive. Any such actions, if known to UNT Housing will result in judicial action from UNT Housing and if actions persist, University judicial sanctions. Measures for residents to circumvent the State Fire Marshall's directive could potentially subject residents to further legal liability if their action were to cause harm to one of their suite-mates.
UNT can allow students to utilize safety alarms on bathroom doors that do not impede the ability to exit the bathroom space but provide an audible alert upon entry of the bedroom space from the bathroom. Students can find acceptable options at many retail locations and through online consumer sites – a generic search result for ”door alarm” will produce several reasonably priced options for consideration.
Students or parents with concerns may contact their RA, the Hall Director for their building or Housing Administration.