Key cards in halls reduce lockouts, increase security
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
Since switching from keys to key cards in residence halls at the start of last school year, Miami University has seen a reduction in lockouts as well as increases in security at the benefit of its students.
Robert Abowitz, associate director of residence life, said he believes the switch to key cards has been positive change for Miami’s campus.
“Making the change from keys to key cards was driven by a number of factors, one of them being the increases in security that these cards provide,” Abowitz said. “In terms of numbers it’s very difficult to track how many lockouts there have been, because of the number of services provided to students in the event of losing their card, but the key cards have been a positive change.”
Abowitz said The Office of Residence life has been unable to provide numbers because with the advancement in technology, students have been reporting their cards lost less often; therefore the office has been unable to accurately get a reading on the number of lost cards compared to the number of lost keys, according to Abowitz.
Assistant Director of Student Housing and Meal Plans Sherri Bowling also emphasized the number of options available to students if they lose their card as a positive improvement. With online webcard services, the “open my door” texting capability along with 24-hour card replacement and temporary keys there are multiple solutions available.
Students have found the “Open My Door” service, which allows them to use their phones to text their doors to let them in, the most useful when spending time in the residence halls, according to Clawson Hall RA and junior Jennifer Thomas.
“We’ve heard many positive comments from students related to the new door access system and the use of their I.D. cards,” Bowling said. “I think students appreciate using their I.D. card for room access instead of using a key.”
Thomas said she enjoys the new key card system as well.
“With the I.D. cards, I feel like less students lose them because it’s their life,” Thomas said. “Their laundry, food and room access is all on their cards so they treat them more as they would their state I.D.’s or drivers licenses. The cards are essential to their lives on campus.”
From an RA standpoint the cards have also made assisting locked out students easier, as well as made living in the residence halls safer, according to Thomas.
“Accessing the master key for me is really simple, all I have to do is activate my master key online and then I have access to the door for a certain amount of time,” Thomas said. “The time limit [of activation], as well as emailing my advisor and the student a notification that my master key has been activated, are all just extra security measures that ensures the safety of residents within the hall. Just to let the student know that we aren’t able to just open any door at any time.”
This idea of giving the student all the information they need to take their security into their own hands goes even past the email notification service, according to Abowitz.
One of the most important changes that came with the key cards is the ability of students to deactivate and reactivate their card if it’s lost at any time, Abowitz said.
“Students should be aware of their ability to disable their card online on the webcard service if it gets lost, and their ability to reactivate the card if found for no charge,” Abowitz said.
Junior Victoria Kleycamp said she agrees that key cards have been a positive change.
“All locking systems have their flaws, but I believe that the key cards are efficient for students to use,” Kleycamp said.