Letters to the Editor

Pros and Cons to the One-Card System

To the Editor: There are many benefits to the one-card system. I am a supporter of such a system, yet I believe it has many flaws and costs that many people, students, staff and faculty alike may not be willing to pay.The benefits provided by the one card system are enormous. By allowing financial transactions to take place, we are eliminating the amount of cash the students need to carry around at any given point. Laundry and vending machines may have readers installed and may eliminate the need for heavy and bulky quarters. We will be able to access new and different places of study or work. Later stages of the one card system will hopefully further integrate Blackboard with the school. An online sign-in system may be implemented that utilizes the card. However, several costs are associated with this new found freedom and flexibility. The most prominent and well known cost of the system involves the school’s ability to keep records of our whereabouts. I can understand the school’s need to know. The fear of lawsuits and the increased amount of liability contributes to the possible decision by the administration to keep track of the whereabouts of a student. This “Patriot Act” of sorts will greatly demoralize the greater community of Phillips Academy, which many of us call home for the greater part of the year. There is a lesser point that has not yet been opened. The administration would also be able to track how efficiently its maintenance staff is working. By watching and monitoring the movements of a staff member, the administration will be able to streamline its staff. However, this big brother act is greatly frowned upon by not only the general public or employees, but this is a problem that many unions fight against. Monitoring employees was a technique that was used in steel mills during the early 20th century to make workers efficient and that many unions fought against. Many corporations at this time timed how long a worker went to the bathroom, ate and how long each task took. This system, I am certain, will not monitor employees to such a large extent, but I believe it will cause some issues in the workplace that many call Phillips Academy. I urge the administration not to use the one card system as a system of monitoring. In addition to the previous problems stated, there is also a considerable cost associated with the maintenance of such a monitoring system. I would like to point out that to network each device to a central location would take an immense amount of man-hours to install as well as a considerable amount of capital. Also, if the school instead chooses to install separate, completely independent memory storage devices onto each system, the amount of time it will take to extract information when it is needed will be very high. Initial installation costs of such memory devices will also increase the amount of initial capital needed to install this system. The costs associated with this see-all form of monitoring will cost the school a large amount of money, which would be better spent in reinvestment or for financial aid. I believe that the one-card system is highly beneficial, provided that the administration does not abuse the system and uses it only for security purposes and financial transactions. I believe that the only things that should be tracked on the one-card system are financial transactions. However, allowing students to access buildings during different hours will greatly help many students further their studies. I insist and plead with the administration to use the system in a way that will not demoralize the community, but will help us enhance the Andover experience. Sincerely, Paul Chan ’10