Universal swipe access revoked from resident assistants
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The Office of Residence Life announced that resident assistants (RAs) would no longer be granted universal swipe access throughout all residential buildings on campus during this January’s annual winter RA training program. This marked the end of the pilot program that had been in effect, which had previously allowed RAs to swipe in to any of the residence halls in order to attend group training sessions and support each other’s programming in the various residence halls.
“We found that the swipe access was often being used to enter buildings for purposes other than what was intended when the pilot program began,” said Beth McGuire, senior assistant dean of students and director of Residence Life. “Based on that, and a recommendation from Public Safety, we opted to discontinue the program.”
When asked about the restriction, one Public Safety representative claimed that “universal access into dorm buildings is always risky, always controversial and unnecessary in most cases.” Although the Office of Residence Life has assured that the policy change should not affect the ability of the RAs to successfully do their jobs, it has sparked frustration for some staff members.
“I personally hate the lack of access. It’s annoying because I move around campus so often to the point that it becomes a burden to hand in my ID every time I enter a res hall,” said Mitch Holson, an RA in Suffolk Hall and sophomore film production major. “I understand that giving complete access to students is a liability, but there’s a reason we were hired – because the majority of us can handle the responsibility of unrestricted access. It’s a shame that a few RAs had to abuse that privilege.”
Sophomore psychology major Veronica Catricala is a resident of Enterprise Hall. Although she isn’t an RA, she feels that it’s important for RAs to have imediate access to spaces for student safety. “I don’t really understand the purpose of taking away universal access from RAs. If there was ever an emergency in another building, I think every resident assistant should have the ability to lend a helping hand, and signing in takes up valuable time that may not be available in a dire situation. I think that there is no harm in allowing them access to every building. They were hired for a reason and I think they should be trusted.”
Aside from the sideline criticism, the Office of Residence Life has not received any formal complaints or follow-up questions regarding the new swipe access restrictions.
“It doesn’t really bother me because I didn’t really utilize the access,” said Tyrone Harmon, a Nassau Hall RA and junior computer science and cyber security and Japanese major. “If anything, it’s a smart application of security risk and vulnerability management. I’m sure it will cause some inconvenience for some RAs who have to work frequently in different residence halls, but then again, the more you limit privileges like this, the more you reduce the chance of any kind of safety risk.”