In response to the recent thefts on Freshman Hill, Residence Life eliminated the universal access program. Previously, any student who lived in a residence hall could enter any other residence hall until 11 pm every day and 12 am on weekends. After that, they could only enter the residence hall they lived in. This program was popular among students, for it allowed students to visit their friends in other buildings and easily access the dining halls at the Burdett Avenue Residence Hall and Blitman Commons, which is extremely important for athletes.
However, now, no student has card access for any building other than their own. This not only inconveniences many students, but also poses an increased security risk. The current Institute policy for students who have people attempting to enter a residence hall with them is for the person opening the door to close the door behind them and not allow anyone else in. However, this is entirely unrealistic to expect of residents. It’s considered rude to not hold the door open for a person who is closely following behind. It’s also rude to deny access to someone who requests to enter, claims a legitimate reason to enter, and appears to be a student. But, this is also against policy. Since this practice is completely contradictory to the current Institute policy, the Institute policy does not work.
This issue is compounded by the fact that now, people who have friends in the dorm are tempted to ask people at the doors to let them in, when they previously had access. This makes letting others into the residence halls a regular occurrence, which makes it much easier for malicious intruders to gain entry.
Though The Poly staff doesn’t have a final solution to the problem, we believe the removal of universal access was a step backward. A better direction might be to add security cameras at every door to each residence hall, to monitor entry. We believe the advent of universal access and the recent break-ins are unrelated; we posit that the ability of the intruders to enter the building was made no easier by universal access. We hope that universal access will be restored in the future.