Access Control: What You Need to Know

by Joe Liggio & Gabriella DePinho, Senior Writer & News Editor

Getting around campus just got a lot harder.

Starting this Fall 2019 semester, 24-hour sign-ins are now mandatory for anyone who wishes to enter a residence hall that is not their own, a sudden and unexpected policy change bound to have repercussions on campus culture.

Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 a.m., enrolled students visiting any hall they do not reside in must now sign as a “visitor” with a host student that lives in the building. Individuals who are not Manhattan College students that wish to visit resident students at their dorms must sign in as “guests” according to Charles Clency, Director of Residence Life.

“The objective of the direction is, to a certain degree, enhance the level of security in the residence halls for the residents, and also the quality of life in the residence halls, said Peter DeCaro, director of Public Safety. “The whole change in the policy was coordinated between [Public Safety] and Res Life. We wanted to do something that would make things a little better for the residents in the buildings, even if it may not be perceived that way initially … We want to try to structure it in the real world and in line with what most colleges do as far as access control in terms of dorms.”

Horan, Lee and Overlook Manor day guests must present ID and sign in with a resident host in the lobby of the building, while those who wish to enter Chrysostom or Jasper must have a host sign them in via a QR code process or the online MyHousing portal for a day guest pass.

Overnight guest policy remains unaffected by the change: Those who wish to enter any residence hall that is not their own between the hours of 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. must be signed in by a resident of the same sex. At the same time, a day guest will face punishment if they stay in a residence hall that is not their own past 12 a.m.

“If a day guest leaves after midnight, the MC resident will have a progressive fine charged to his/her account: $20 for the first violation with cumulative $10 increments for the next two violations. After a $40 fine at the third violation, the resident will lose guest privileges for a length of time, depending upon factors at the time of the violation,” reads the recently updated MC Community Standards and Code of Conduct.

All Manhattan students will still have access to Health Services, the mailroom and the meditation rooms in Horan, however those who do not live in the building will now have to sign in with their MC ID and enter their names into a visitor log in the main lobby, and are barred from accessing the building through the bridge entrance.

“Currently the [Horan and Lee] bridges are going to operate as they always have. The difference being is that if you don’t live in either building, you’re not going to be able to card in. Everything else is going to be the same,” said DeCaro.

The new policy does not affect students who are Resident Assistants on campus, who have open access to any residence hall at any time of day.

“The policy will not prevent guests from entering the residence halls but will control building access more effectively,” said Clency in an e-mail statement.

Still, it is undeniable that this is a significant shake up from what has been the norm at Manhattan, and students are already raising valid questions and concern over what seems to be an unclear system.

Student Body President Kaylyn Atkins pointed out that she was not informed or included in talks regarding the policy change.

“No, they haven’t [reached out], which is kind of disappointing in my opinion. I was going to schedule a meeting with Charles [Clency] because my team and I have some questions about the new policy that wasn’t very clear in his email to residential students. I also have a problem with the fact that commuters, like myself, did not receive an email from Res Life about the new policy, I just heard about it from my friends who live on campus,” said Atkins in a written statement to The Quadrangle.

Resident students received an email about the policy change on Aug. 13, while commuter students have yet to receive any email about the update.

Isabel Quinones, who served as the VP of Residential Affairs during the 2018-2019 academic year, confirmed that the policy change idea was initially brought up to her and Anna Rosario, who then served as VP of commuter affairs. However, discussion of the change never got past initial talks with the Resident Student Association.

“I had very regular meetings with Charles with my board for RSA and we discussed it in the beginning of April, I want to say,” Quinones said.  “We were supposed to discuss it in the last student government assembly meeting of the semester and that never occurred due to scheduling conflicts and things that happened, so after that, I was never under the impression that that was going into effect this fall.”

Though campus-wide changes do not have to go through the Student Government Assembly and the Senate, most major changes, such as the renaming of Columbus Day to Fall Break, usually follow the tradition of going through these channels before being presented to President O’Donnell and the Board of Trustees.

Students are encouraged to bring concerns and questions about the policy change to Public Safety and Residence Life, as well as to student channels such as Student Government.

“It’s always good to get feedback from the end users, in any system … If it’s a legitimate issue and it’s not just griping, absolutely we’re going to look at it,” said DeCaro.

One thought on “Access Control: What You Need to Know

  1. I am stunned. Once again, a Manhattan policy chipping away at the already failing social culture at this school. Don’t be surprised when current students start badmouthing the school on prospective student days or when your new student applications start plummeting!

    $60k a year and we are all forced to pay $15 for a new ID?? They should be free, what are we even paying for? What happened to our electronic ID’s on our phones? What a waste of time and money to have electronic ID’s created only for them to be completely useless to students the next year. Incompetence at its greatest.

    If DeCaro had actually reached out to current students who know way more about how this school actually works, then maybe we could have created a policy that will actually be beneficial to the students.

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