Swipe No More: L&C Ends Universal Keycard Access to Dorms

By Drake MacFarlane /// News Editor

Universal key swipe access across campus is officially a thing of the past.

During last semester’s Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies, Campus Safety and the Portland Police Bureau were alerted to a perceived threatening emoji character on the popular social media app Yik Yak. In response, the Lewis & Clark Executive Council formed a Bias Assessment Response Team and then limited swipe access to assigned dorms.

“The safety of our students, staff and faculty is our first priority at Lewis & Clark,” the Executive Council said in their ‘letter to the community’ on Nov. 11, which stipulated these measures.

However, months have passed since the incident, and dorm access across campus is still limited, with no word as to what will come.

“I think it’s unnecessary at this point. It was a necessary action at the time, given the circumstances, but now it feels overly cautious. It’s an overreaction,” Jacob Gutierrez (’17) said. “It doesn’t feel beneficial. I’ve personally never experienced any threatening situations caused by an outside person on this campus. This campus is extremely safe.”

“There are currently no plans to change current swipe access levels,” Director of Housing and Orientation Sandi Bottemiller said. According to Bottemiller, the Executive Council is discussing the possibility of expanding access in the 2015-16 year to “hall cluster groups.”

That would mean residents of hall clusters such as Stewart hall, Odell hall and Akin hall would have access to all three buildings and the RA office since they are all supervised by one area director. However, residents of Hartzfeld hall, Edna L., Holmes hall and the apartments would still be affected by the swipe access limitations.

Executive Council Member and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell said that these measures were taken because, “The safety and comfort of the students are our top priority.”

“I think it doesn’t stop anyone from getting into the dorms anyway, because someone’s going to let them in,” Alisa Spector (’17) said. “I feel like it makes us less safe, because if something were to happen, we wouldn’t be able to get into the nearest dorm. If anything was going to happen it’d be outside of the dorms.”

“Hate has no place at Lewis & Clark,” the Executive Council said. “We must work together to ensure an inclusive experience for all members of our community and maintain a campus where all are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment.”

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