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Card Key System to Start Soon

By Sarah Y. Keightley
News Editor

Beginning on Sept. 29, residents of Next House and MacGregor House will unlock their dormitories with magnetically encoded "card keys."

The change is part of a security enhancement project which will eventually include card key readers in all dormitories. By the spring term, all dormitories will probably be equipped with readers, said Associate Director of Housing and Food Services Kenneth R. Wisentaner.

Next House presently has one card reader, while MacGregor has eight, one for each perimeter door. The subcontractor is now installing the system in New House, and they are "working their way down Amherst Alley," Wisentaner said.

All students will be issued a temporary card key on Registration Day to access these systems. The Housing Office is working toward having the access card be the same as the student identification card. This would require all students to be issued new identification cards, but probably will not occur for some time. "The goal for MIT is to have one card for everybody on campus," Wisentaner said.

Cards for Westgate lot

MIT is also installing the card system for access into the Westgate parking lot. The access system, paired with complete perimeter fencing and lighting improvements, is being installed "to control access and thereby reduce the incidence of motor vehicle theft," said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. This is an experiment that may bring card-key systems to other parking lots and buildings, Glavin said. "It is my hope to see this implemented across campus," she added.

Hans C. Godfrey '93, Undergraduate Association president, said, "Hopefully this system will lead to a more secure campus." If the system is eventually expanded to include Institute buildings, Godfrey said, students would be able to open these doors even when they are normally locked at night. They could then walk through the main buildings, rather than outside.

Wisentaner said that the increasing number of violent crimes on and near campus last year had little effect on the plan to install the new security system. "We were going to move in this direction anyway," he said. He also noted that most schools, including Harvard University, are installing similar systems.

Caroline Kwak '94, Next House desk captain, said the system will make the dormitory more secure. Kwak said that she has heard that the Institute may place additional access card readers in Next House for stairway access. Since two other dormitory dining halls have been closed and the Next dining hall will be serving a larger student population, these readers would give Next residents more privacy.

Eva Moy contributed to the reporting of this story.