Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

First-year senators successfully advocate for expanded swipe hours in dorms

Students from other residence halls try to swipe into Jewett Hall after 10 p.m. Photo Credit: Kendra Klag

Members of Whitman College’s first-year class advocated for and received an extension of the hours for swiping into the residence halls in a seamless example of student democracy. First-year senators Kayvon Behroozian, Chelsea Darlington, Bella Zarate and Brian Choe each received e-mails from classmates who were frustrated about their swipe card access. In the prior policy, students living on campus were only able to enter residence halls besides their own until 8 p.m., long before most students went to bed.

After Choe brought up the issue in committee, all of the first-year senators had a meeting with Residence Life and Housing staff to voice their concerns.

“Res Life told us that originally students could swipe in anywhere at all hours but after a rampage of theft, they decided to set a curfew on swipe access and arbitrarily picked 8 p.m. We explained to Res Life that students wanted to have these hours extended and that 10 p.m. would be a perfect time to cut off swipe access for non-residents because that is when “Quiet Hours” start,” Behroozian said.

The new 10 p.m. cutoff, which affects Jewett, Douglas, Prentiss and Anderson Halls and Lyman House, began November 29.

Assistant director of Residence Life and Housing Sean Gehrke met with the first-year senators about this new change in residence life policy, and emphasized that the whole process was well-communicated and relatively simple.

“Brian Choe and Kayvon Behroozian approached us with the idea to extend card swipe access to first-year halls in order to increase community building among the first-year class for the halls with card swipes. We made the change at their request because it didn’t drastically affect security for the residence halls and was a task that was easy for the card-swipe system to handle.”

While many students are now swiping into their friends’ residence halls at later hours, some students are still punching in codes and fumbling with keys to get to their own dormitories. Phil Lundquist, Resident Director for North Hall and Tamarack doesn’t picture North Hall’s keys-only system being changed any time soon.

“From what I can tell it is a slow process. Codes and swipe systems are more secure, but North seems to be a lower priority in terms of these technology updates because we have fewer residents than many of the other residents halls. But not having swipe access isn’t so bad, at North and Marcus I know you can call a room extension to whoever you are visiting, it will just be an extra two minute wait out in the cold.”

Lundquist was the Resident Director of Prentiss Hall prior to his position at North and noted that “less keys got lost in Prentiss with swipe cards and the building on the whole was more secure.”

Associate Director of Campus Security Craig McKinnon also felt that card swipes have made the campus more secure.

“I’ve been working with Whitman’s security for 30 years, and I remember when they first started trials of installing the swipe cards. If someone loses a swipe card, we can cancel their account and monitor access to pinpoint the location of a stolen card; that’s something you can’t do with lost keys. There have been and there will continue to be glitches with the swipe cards, but problems with the cards are pretty infrequent.”

McKinnon hopes that the extended hours for swipe access will prevent students from propping open residence hall doors for friends, which he believes was a huge problem in previous years. But he encourages students to be cautions, no matter what swipe hours are allowed.

“Across the nation, about 80 percent of college thefts are committed by the students themselves. We will continue to monitor safety regarding the change in residence life policy and we may need to take extra precautions if there is an increase in theft.”

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