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Med Center, Other Card Readers Activate Tonight

By Venkatesh Satish
Associate News Editor

At 6 p.m. tonight, the MIT Card readers installed on Buildings E19, E23, E25, 66, and the Medical Center complex will be activated in an effort step up campus security.

Using card readers to limit access to the buildings from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. will also provide a way to examine how to improve general campus security, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin.

The project was started "as a result of [requests by] the occupants of the buildings that focused on the need for tighter security," Glavin said.

Program to balance concerns

"The challenge is to balance the tighter security... [while making] it more convenient for the MIT community, and for people who legitimately" want to enter the buildings, Glavin said.

"We want to satisfy both needs as reasonably as we can," she said.

The system will not necessarily prevent all potential trespassers from accessing the buildings, Glavin said. There are other systems that could prevent would-be trespassers from following legitimate users into the buildings, but they would involve a greater expense, she said.

The goal of the current project is not to completely secure each entry to all MIT buildings, Glavin said. Such a system might be an eventual goal, but the Institute is years from being able to implement that plan.

"This really has a deterrent effect," she said.

"I think it will provide a level of security we haven't had in the past," said Director of Physical Plant Victoria V. Sirianni.

This pilot project is "an experiment we intend to learn from," Sirianni said.

"There are a lot of issues to be sorted out," including who should have access, how strict security should be, and the privacy and security of the MIT card in general, Glavin said.

There might be some logistical problems with system, Sirianni said. "It's going to be inconvenient" for students who lose their cards and for those who do not realize that cards are required for access to those buildings.

A total of six card readers will be activated, and they will operate from 6 p.m to 6 a.m. on weekdays and through the weekend, Sirianni said.

She said that she expects some complaints. "Change is very difficult for peopleŠ I don't think there will be universal applause."

Students express mixed feelings

Students expressed a variety of opinions about the new card readers.

"As far as security purposes are concerned, it's a great idea, just because we live in an urban campus," said Catalina M. Buttz '98.

"I think it would probably be safer. Sometimes, the code [on the Medical Center] doesn't work. As long as the card system worked all the time, it would be alright," said Stephanie A. Jenrette '97.

Others felt having the new card readers would be troublesome.

"I think in theory it's a neat idea, but unfortunately, they are going to the extreme in doing Building 66," said Andrew B. Ellis '97. "It's providing a lot of inconvenienceŠ I don't think it will have that positive of an effect on security."

Some felt the change was unimportant. "I think it's really no big deal, because everyone carries an ID with them," said Pei-Yi Kim '98. Still, MIT "shouldn't charge that much for new ID's for people who lost their cards."