Staff editorial: Security snafu

The Gelman Library is locked down – students who forget their GWorld cards are denied access to the library. Security is a valid concern for the library, but reasonable solutions – rather than a strict crackdown – must be instituted for dealing with students without a GWorld card.

Gelman employees are beginning to resemble the Smith Center’s far-from-friendly staff who bar entrance to anyone who fails to bring a GWorld card. But the library is a different animal altogether. The library is a place for academic work, a place essential to good performance in multitudes of classes. Getting in to the gym is not as fundamental to university life as getting in to the library. People get by just fine without lifting weights or riding the stationary bike for the day they forgot their card. But students must be able to access classes in the library.

University policy requires students to have their GWorld cards on them at all times. However, cards get broken and lost. Students must somehow be allowed to reach their classes. Students pay too much per credit hour to miss a session because they could not get a replacement card in time for class.

One possible low-tech solution includes maintaining at the security desk a list of students registered for classes meeting in the library. This list is easily obtained from the registrar’s office. Should students arrive without their GWorld cards, those who need to enter the building to attend class may be admitted using the class rosters. Even with this list, students lacking identification would be denied admission until they retrieve their GWorld cards.

Another possible solution would be to link the security desk with the patron records maintained in the Gelman computer system. Staffers would admit students by checking their student identification numbers against the computer database.

Secure, convenient Gelman access is not an insurmountable challenge. True, students should be responsible enough to carry their GWorld cards. But administrators must make a reasonable effort to accommodate all students, even those who have difficulty keeping track of their identification.

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