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Access Denied? New Safety Measures at LC

By Julie Oatfield /// Staff Writer

Since Lewis & Clark administrators and Campus Safety responded to a gun emoji posted on Yik Yak last month, students have been dealing with the main safety measure implemented: swipe access only to their own residence halls. Previously, students could swipe into any dorm building.

In addition to campus debates regarding the new system and whether it effectively addresses safety concerns in the event of a gun-related emergency, technical issues have arisen with the swipe systems. Josh Fichera (’18)  said he was locked out of Howard Hall for a full day, about a week after the new system was put in place.

“I had to call people in the building and yell really loudly to get in,” Fichera said, and mentioned that a number of other students had to do the same. A student who lived in the room closest to Howard’s front door “basically became the doorman for the day,” he said. Another technical glitch appeared the following day, when the hall’s door was allegedly unlocked for at least 24 hours and could be opened without a swipe card. About the open door, Fichera said, “As far as making a safe place, that total openness didn’t vibe with the rest of [Campus Safety’s] policies.”

Director of Campus Safety Timothy O’Dwyer, with input from Lead Dispatcher Bruce Burns, was able to offer explanations for some of the issues in the transition.

“Because removing the all residence hall access and adding the single residence hall access to all undergraduate resident student identification cards had to be done manually, one at a time, there were a number of errors made,” O’Dwyer said. As student-residence lists were double-checked and students called in with problems, errors were eventually fixed.

O’Dwyer also referred to access problems that Information Technology has dealt with over the last few months: “Some student identification cards are not updating, causing their ID card to periodically not work. These must be updated manually by Campus Safety on a weekly basis until IT corrects the issue, and presently there is no timeline for resolution.”

Campus Safety is uncertain how long the current single-hall access system will be in place. In the meantime, O’Dywer recommends students call (503)-768-7855 or stop by the office if they’re experiencing problems accessing their hall.

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