BY SARAH ALLISON
This semester work has begun on bringing electronic door-access to campus that is still in its earliest stages and will probably take a semester or longer to complete.
Business Services, Student Life, Office of Information Technology and Physical Plant will all be
involved in the process.
The idea has been around for several years, but most students probably heard about this plan for
the first time on Sept. 5, when Student Life sent out a survey by email with questions regarding
where students lived and whether they owned smart phones. On Sept.17, Student Life had a
small meeting with various students to ask their opinion.
“I think the feedback’s positive,” said Catherine Heck, assistant vice president of Student Life.
“Keys can be a pain.”
According to Marlene Terpenning, director of business services, residence halls might be some of the first buildings to be outfitted for electronic access, followed by administrative buildings.
“I think the students probably realize it’s time to have electronic card access,” said Terpenning.
They are currently working with a consultant who is developing a request for a proposal. They will determine which type of technology they can use for door access and then bring in venders and evaluate their products. Ultimately, final approval will come from the President’s Cabinet. Different options for electronic access include smartphone apps or electronic cards. These could potentially be used for more than just unlocking doors. Key cards could be combined with ID cards, used to check out books at the library and hold meal plans. The cards might even have money put on them, said Kevin Sebolt, director of the Office of Information Technology.
“It’s really nothing new,” he said. Electronic access is common at many universities. There is also the question of safety. Electronic card access can be cancelled fairly quickly, while lost keys could potentially be found and used by someone else.
Students have had mixed reactions to the idea.
“I’m not a huge fan of it,” said Holly Tennyson, sophomore. “It just seems like another thing that
would make it more complicated. I mean, keys are ok.”
In addition, both smart phone apps and key cards could have complications. “It would be really hard for people who don’t have smart phones, and I think there are more of us than people realize,” said Tennyson. “I would be more likely to lose a card than a key, because
you can put a key on a key-ring.
Other students are also concerned about the possibility of losing key cards, especially if key
cards are combined with ID cards as has been suggested.
“The likelihood of losing your ID is so much more than losing a key,” said senior Jenn Riley, pointing out the potential danger if someone found an ID card and realized that they now had access to the owner’s residence hall and room.
On the other hand, Riley added, it would be harder to pick an electronic lock than the current locks on the doors.
On Franciscan’s Austria campus, some of the buildings are already set up for access by key cards. During her time there, senior Beth Mayer did not lose her key card on any occasion, and thinks bringing a similar system to campus is an excellent idea.
“It was very beneficial, and so easy,” said Mayer. “You can just throw it in your wallet with your