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Card Key Article, Column Fall Short of Mark

I read the article "Card Keys Sometimes A Problem" [Nov. 18] on the front page of The Tech, and began searching for what the specific problems were. It seems that the headline was based on the opinions of two graduate students from the same floor of Ashdown House (the same floor as the writer of the opinion column). Why no mention in the headline of the other developments of the key cards, such as the 30 percent drop in crime, which comprised more of the article?

The column ["MIT Card Puts Student Safety at Risk," Nov. 18] seems even more specious. I don't know how the writer handles her key card, but I have never had to swipe my card "six or seven times." Perhaps I don't use it to jimmy doors enough. The attempt at fear-mongering would be plain silly if the writer didn't claim that exposure to "mugging, theft, and rape" increases. The front doors of dorms are visible not only to everyone outside the dorm but usually to a lobby or a front desk inside. I have found the process of taking out my card, swiping it, and putting it back to be much quicker (and quieter) then searching through a jangling set of keys.

The argument about the monetary problems of someone else using one's MIT Card feels out of place and merely tacked on to the editorial. I realized that when I signed up for a meal plan, that there was a possibility that someone else could use my card before I noticed it lost (which would take a few hours). The solution? Don't have a meal plan. Convenience comes with a price, and this is an old issue that has nothing to do with card readers.

Perhaps most puzzling is the claim that carrying the key card and traditional keys is "a major annoyance." What did I carry last year, before the card readers were activated? My keys and my wallet. What do I carry now? My keys and my wallet.

The only plausible point of the column is the potential for the administration to "track" students. The potential. The current equipment simply does not give the computers any high degree of information, except for, sometimes, when I enter my dorm. Not when I leave. Not when I go to sleep. Not when I go to the bathroom. Not when I enter the dorm with a group of people. And not when the desk worker buzzes me in.

Is this The Thistle or The Tech?

Daniel J. Weber '97