Bring on the machines! Please, I am begging you, oh, ogre of mediocrity that is UCSB housing: Bring on the freaking machines! What machines are these, pray tell? They are the little sensors that should be going on each and every door in the residence halls on campus. Right now, they are on the exterior doors of Francisco Torres – or is that Santa Catalina? I cannot remember exactly what it is being called this week. For those of you who do not know and are so far behind the times, UCSB Housing and Residential Services] in all of its infinite wisdom is using an antiquated system of metal keys to provide access to its residences. Every single person who currently lives on campus is issued two metal keys upon checking in, and is responsible for ensuring that these keys are never lost or stolen.
Unfortunately, this system is extremely out of date. For years now, it has been possible to wire the doors of the residence halls with electronics. Oh wait, wasn’t that the year 2000, the beginning of the new millennium? Yeah, that’s right, we students are still using the old school metal keys while a large number of our peers are now living in residences on other campuses that have actually decided to become a part of the 21st century.
One reason for Housing to greatly speed up the implementation of the electronic key system is the great enhancement in security that it provides. Currently, if you lose your keys, you have now given one lucky person that has found your key access to your entire building whenever they feel like it. Furthermore, because Housing is too lazy to get around to even re-keying your room, you have now given access to your room to the thieving vermin that found your keys, so you can now kiss both you and your five other roommates’ – because Housing apparently thinks it is acceptable to cram people into rooms, and Admissions deems it acceptable to accept more people than they are legally allowed to – stuff goodbye. I realize that this situation is a stretch, but the possibilities really are endless.
Unfortunately for all of you who live on campus, the electronic keys that Housing is implementing are really, at best, a half-assed solution. They only allow access to the exterior doors, so if you lose your keys, the underbelly of I.V. can still your precious belongings. What Housing should really be investing our hard-earned dollars into is the key system that Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has implemented in all of its new projects, and is currently working on integrating into its current residences. Their system allows their residents to use the Cal Poly equivalent of the Access card to enter into their buildings and rooms. Individuals are only granted access to what they need access to, and if a resident were to lose their keys, the key could simply and painlessly be deactivated, so that card would no longer work, and a new card which would grant the necessary access would be issued to the student in question.
With a system like that implemented on campus, UCSB would finally be able to enter the digital age. Other buildings are slowly moving over to the electronic card system. These doors could easily be added to a student’s access level; that way, if you took a biology class in which you needed access to the labs to do your experiments, you could easily get in by simply swiping your electronic key, instead of having the biology department issue you a metal key and berate you into guarding it with your life at all hours of the day.
With these simple improvements, which Housing should be able to implement, since their budget is one of the few budgets that has never been cut – even during the fiscal crisis that California was in just a few years ago – all of us students who live on campus should be able to sleep a little bit safer at night knowing that Housing is being pro-active in keeping the thieving vermin out, and ensuring that all of us students have a safe place to study and sleep.
Daily Nexus columnist Matt Suedkamp will be on hiatus for the next few weeks, but he will return in “Casino Royale” – I mean, he will return for Winter Quarter.