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New ID Card Issued Next Week

By Venkatesh Satish

Next week all students will receive their 1994-95 MIT Card. With the card, a student can access his dormitory and campus parking lots, purchase meals from Institute dining halls, and check out books from the library, according to Richard Lew '94, systems administrator in the MIT Card Office.

One new feature is the auxiliary purchasing account, with which students can make debit purchases at the 24-Hour Coffee House and the Office of Laboratory Supplies, Lew said. This account reduces the need for students to carry large sums of money, and it is also convenient, he said.

"We are currently trying to expand the number of services that can be accessed with this feature of the card," Lew said.

Dormitory residents will receive their cards through their house managers; off-campus students will receive their cards through the mail, Lew said. The MIT Card Office is trying to time the mailing so "there is no gap between the expiration of the old cards and the arrival of the new ones," he added.

The new cards were not issued at the beginning of the term for several reasons, Lew said. The office waited until students registered for classes, then needed time to process the information. Also, new students' pictures were not taken and processed until after the start of the term, he said.

Issuing the new cards now will also help establish procedures for issuing future cards, Lew said. The next card will be issued in fall 1995, and it is still uncertain if subsequent cards will be issued after that, he said.

In terms of establishing procedures, last year students could use their library cards in addition to the MIT Card, because of a lenient policy. Now students will not be able to do so, Lew said.

The MIT Card provides confidentiality, convenience, and security, Lew said. "MIT is in the process of going to confidential ID numbers for students in the Student Information Services database," he said.

The MIT Card Office ran into a minor problem while preparing the new cards this year. Several hundred electronically-stored pictures were lost in the transfer from the Graphic Arts Service, where they were stored, Lew said.

Most of the pictures lost were about five or six years old, Lew said. But most of those people have had more recent pictures taken, he said.

The missing pictures should not have an effect on the distribution of the new cards, Lew said. Anyone who does not receive a card should contact the MIT Card Office at x3-3475, he said.

Students have mixed reaction

Student opinion regarding the new ID cards is mixed, but the general feeling is one of anxiety.

"If it works ideally then it's a good idea, but I'm not very clear on the issue," said Michael C. Yang '96.

"They have to make sure that the services they are adding don't cause other problems," said Robert R. Janssen '97, echoing this sentiment.

Other students addressed their concerns about possible consequences of the new system.

"If all the campus parking is converted to card readers, we would not be able to use the convenient parking lots when they aren't being used, like during the evenings and on weekends. It would be a hassle to have to park in my assigned lot during those times," said Hussein M. Waljee '97.

Some expressed indifference to the subject. "I think it's a good idea, but it doesn't really matter to me," said James M. Nohrden G.

"It's kind of a hassle to keep changing these cards, but it doesn't make enough of a difference to make me mad," said Mark S. Lohmeyer '95.

A few students expressed more vehement opinions. "The new card is a waste of plastic. I really don't know what the purpose is in re-issuing cards," said Christopher B. Gould '95.