One-Card To Provide Community With Enhanced Security and Ease of Use

Andover’s new one-card system is updating the technology of security. Although the system aims to provide convenience for student purchases downtown and on campus, another focus of the system is to address issues of theft and security. “The idea came from the students,” said Dean of Students Marlys Edwards. According to Edwards, the long-tabled idea gained momentum in part because of the requests for more comprehensive sign-in policies from faculty and staff in the Isham Health Center and in the Athletics Department. Card readers will be present at places where theft has been an issue before, such as student clubs’ facilities in the basement of Morse Hall and the outside the Borden Gym. In Spring 2006, a 21 year-old Andover resident was apprehended in connection with theft that had occurred in the boys’ locker room in the Borden Gym. According to Edwards, there have been cases in the past when things have been stolen by intruders from unlocked club rooms in the basement. “These are places where keys are already required,” Edwards said. The readers will be located at all eleven exterior entries to the gym and at the entry for each office in Morse. Students will be required to swipe their cards to enter offices in the basement of Morse during the evening. The second phase of the plan, which as of now lacks a firm timetable, will include card readers at the door of every dormitory. Edwards said that the school has no plans as of now to replace the sign-in system with electronic scans. “We will still have face-to-face sign-in on the same nights,” she said. “House counselors have to see students and look at their faces and see how they’re feeling.” Edwards also added that she had noticed that house counselors, especially in smaller dorms, were increasingly checking in on their students on a nightly basis. Edwards, a house counselor in Samaritan House, said that she sees all of her students face-to-face every night. Edwards stressed that the school had in loco parentis responsibilities that could not be maintained without the current sign-in system. However, she did say that house counselors could potentially gain access to sign-in times, events attended and purchases made with the one-card by a student. “With technology, one should know that everything can be recovered,” she said. When asked if such information could potentially be used in a Disciplinary Committee (DC), Edwards said that school administrators would consider using any information that they had access to. Edwards added that presently internet logs and phone call logs are available for use in DCs, but she also said that it was unlikely that a student would use a one-card when downtown after sign-in. Edwards also said that only certain required commitments would use the one-card for attendance purposes. At present, Isham Health Center already employs a card reader to facilitate the new daily attendance system. The Athletic Department hopes to use the card for sign-in purposes in required, but not necessarily stringently supervised activities. Such activities would include their new Flexible Fitness Option and MedEx. If a student failed to show up at the trainer’s room or the fitness center to swipe the card, a student would receive a cut electronically without any paperwork on the part of the activity supervisor. At present, the school employs a locksmith at the end of every academic year to change the lock cores in each and every dormitory. This is to prevent students who duplicated their keys or failed to return them at the end of the school year from using their keys to reenter dormitories in later years. “Deactivation is much easier than changing all of the cores,” Edwards said. According to Edwards, the new system would also implement alarms which sound when a door has been propped open for an excessive period of time. PAPS would also be notified by the system of the alarm activation. The system would also make it easy for students to deactivate a misplaced or lost one-card. A student would simply be able to record their one-card as missing on PAnet, and he or she would receive a new one, rendering the old one-card useless. The one-card’s debit functionality would alleviate the issues affiliated with students carrying large amounts of cash, said Edwards. The card, however, would only work at approved business and places on-campus that students frequent. No cash could be withdrawn with the card. She added that students would learn a lesson in budgeting by having their account balance and purchase history available on PAnet. “I think it will be more convenient for those who order out often; there will be less money in dorms, and students will be more careful with their IDs,” Edwards said.