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Key cards may be installed in dorms

By George Ipe

Several dormitory heads are considering plans to install key card equipment in their houses, according to East Campus Desk Captain Kristen K. Nummerdor '93. Other colleges in the Boston area have already changed to this high-tech system.

Nummerdor praised the electronic key card system, which can greatly enhance security because, unlike traditional metal keys, the cards cannot be copied by residents. She said, "The advantage of switching to cards is that it would eliminate the problem of duplicate keys -- and we have a lot of duplicate keys running around."

Nummerdor said illegal copies of dormitory keys can pose a real security threat to future residents of those houses, especially since locks are changed only at a

resident's request. East Campus entrance keys were last changed four years ago.

After consulting House Manager Jack Corcoran, Nummerdor said, "He and other house managers are considering switching to card systems. But it's up in the air -- it's not quite in the works yet."

The cost of a new card system might make the switch more difficult, Nummerdor said.

Harvard recently equipped some of its freshman dormitories with devices which allow residents to enter with a credit card-sized access pass. The passes are inserted into a slot which electronically reads them, then opens the door. Wellesley College has a similar system in its dormitories.

Asked to choose between the new card keys and old-fashioned keys, Harvard freshman Monica Salamon said, "I like the feel of my keys on a keychain in my pocket. I feel safe enough with regular keys."

Nummerdor disagreed, saying, "As a person, I'd rather have card keys. As someone who knows there are spare keys floating around to my room and to other people's rooms, I'd much rather have cards."