Story by Cassidy Myers
Anyone who has sat in a Drake University residence hall lobby after 9 p.m. has heard the excessive ring of the doorbell and watched as the front desk worker walked back and forth from the door to the desk checking IDs and letting students in.
All of that may change next year with the installation of card access. Scott Law, who arrived at Drake in the fall of 2013 and is the director of campus security services and public safety, said the goal of a project to install proximity card access in the residence halls and many of the academic buildings is to be ready for the beginning of the 2014-15 academic school year.
“President Maxwell and his Cabinet asked me, along with Jolene Schmidt from Facilities and Joe Riesberg from Information Technology to look at this project in the fall,” Law said.
Many large state schools such Iowa State University have already made use of proximity card access.
“It was nice when I visited my friend at Iowa State because you could just swipe and get inside,” said first-year Brooke Vaske. “It seemed to work better than Drake’s system, and it also seemed more up to date.”
“As technology changes, Drake University continues to evaluate available services and products in light of our risk assessments and industry standards,” Law said. “Card access allows for better access control of buildings and therefore increased opportunities for building and student security.”
Law said that as of now they are discussing the possibility of the cards being required to get into residence hall buildings 24/7.
Card access would make it more difficult for desk workers to monitor who students are bringing into the residence halls, and it raises the concern of someone losing their card. However, lost cards can be quickly resolved.
“One of the major benefits of card access is that cards cannot be easily duplicated, and if lost, they are easily taken out of the system, therefore not compromising facility security,” Law said.
“It’ll be more convenient for students since they won’t have to ring the doorbell anymore,” Vaske said. “It would also be nice to see an upgrade to some of the buildings like Carnegie Hall, so you don’t have to deal with the old lock system anymore.”
Card access will be another tool used by security to improve the safety of Drake students. Nevertheless, student awareness is still key.
“The greatest tool we have is the students own diligence in staying aware of their surroundings,” Law said. “If students, faculty or staff see something that makes them uncomfortable, they should call Public Safety and report it. Student, faculty and staff awareness is the most effective way of reducing the chances for problems on any college campus.”