Dorms grant increased access to Whitman students

Eric Nickeson-Mendheim

Credit: Cornelius
Credit: Cornelius

Whitman plans to grant swipe access to students living on campus for all residence halls that have key card readers, effective next semester. This includes Jewett, Douglas and Anderson Halls.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to visit my friends without having to wait in the cold,” said first-year Allison Ramp, a resident of North Hall.

The swipe access is in response to student requests, said Director of Residence Life and Housing Nancy Tavelli.

“Students have asked for it,” she said. “A member of ASWC came in and requested this.” ¬†First-year ASWC senator Nathan Abrams led the push for increased access.

Until January 2009, residence halls with swipe access were unlocked from eight in the morning to eight at night. Residence Life locked the doors in response to a string of thefts, only allowing access for residents.  With the new system, students living on campus will be granted access from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We were having a lot of people from outside come in and steal things,” said Tavelli. “We’ll still check to see if people are okay with it. I don’t think there should be a problem; it’s exactly what we had before only now people need to have a Whitman ID.”

Ramp is excited for the new system.

“It’s obnoxious to have to walk all the way from North to visit a friend in Anderson, just to have to wait more,” said Ramp. “I think this will be a great system.”

Sophomore Claire Snyder also found problems with having to wait outside dorms.

“Last year there were definitely times when I wanted visit friends in a different dorm and I just ended up sitting outside the dorm doing weird things to try and get people to let me in,” she said. “It’ll be nice not to jump up and down to get into a dorm.”

Tavelli says Prentiss Hall has served as a trial. Prentiss is currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to provide access to the spirituality room.

“Prentiss was sort of our test run,” said Tavelli. “No one has had any problems. We close at night because we want people to use the phones and call after dark. It’s just safer that way.”

Students haven’t expressed any particular concerns about their dorms being left open to Whitman students.

“I think it’s great that we’re doing this,” said first-year Trevor Miller. “I have no concerns; I feel pretty safe. A burglar probably won’t have a swipe card.”

Certain residence halls such as Marcus House, North Hall and Lyman House do not have swipe access and will remain locked at all times.

“We’ve been adding a swipe reader [per] summer,” said Tavelli. “But with this recent economic downturn, we had to stop doing that. We’ll probably start up with it again next semester.”

When the switch is made, Residence Life plans on remaining attentive.

“There are no major concerns,” said Tavelli. “But we’ll still continue to make sure everyone is okay with it.”