Card access to be required for residence halls

Story by Ben Rueter

Starting next semester, residence halls are going to require students to swipe their Blugold cards to access all entrances.

According to a university news release, all entrances will remain locked 24-hours a day, seven days a week, starting in the spring semester. An exception will be the main entrance to Towers Hall, so that students and faculty can access the Housing office and lobby area for events. But the student residence area in Towers will be off limits for those without a Blugold ID.

“There have been instances in the past where people who don’t even go to this school have wandered into the dorms and vandalized it,” said Ali Ciatti, an RA. “It costs the dorms a lot to clean up after these events. The key-card system will definitely be a good investment for situations like this.”

The card system would limit students access to their own residence halls from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Outside of those hours, students can access any hall with their ID.

Lt. Jay Dobson, from the University Police, said most of the locking mechanisms on campus are controlled through physical keys, which can cause a hassle when it comes to security. He also said that if someone were to lose a key they could compromise security in multiple areas. With the card access plan, if someone loses their ID, the card can be taken offline to revoke its access.

Director of Housing and Residence and Life Chuck Major said this is just another layer of security being added.

“A lot of our sister institutions in Wisconsin have card access,” Major said. “Unlike a lot of our sister schools, we have the front desk open to offer that security.”

Major said the card access system is not going to eliminate the front desk security, but that this is an extra precaution and not a response to poor security.

“We like that fact that there’s  a live person watching and providing security, so this will be an added layer to that,” Major said.

A student survey that is issued to students at the end of the term asks how safe they feel in the residence halls. Major said they have always scored well into the 90s percent, which shows that students feel very safe in the dorms.

For Ciatti, the ID system will make sure doors are locked properly and only students are getting inside.

“We need the nighttime security workers to check people in,” she said, “and we need the key cards to make the dorms a little more safe during the day.”