Lockouts now face disciplinary action
The Housing Department initially announced that it would restructure the lock out policy last fall but reported in January that it would defer the policy changes until September. The change would require students to pick up replacement keys from the Housing office instead of calling Public Safety officers to come to rooms.
The threat of disciplinary action, however, is new. According to a statement on the Housing Department website, “after the third lock out and each lock out thereafter students who are locked out of their room[s] will be recommended to the dean for further action.”
Housing director Andrew Kane said in an email that it was not yet known what disciplinary action students who were frequently locked out would face.
“We are working with the offices that support undergraduate and graduate students to set appropriate standards of response, so it is too soon to say what those responses may be,” Kane said. “We will communicate additional information to clarify this topic before the beginning of the next academic year.”
“Disciplinary action may be necessary, for example, if an individual’s actions have negatively affected the safety and security of others in the community,” Kane added.
According the Housing Department’s website, beginning in the fall all undergraduate and graduate students who are locked out of their rooms will be able to pick up a temporary key from the Housing office in the New South Building during business hours or call Public Safety at any time.
There will be no charge for the first three keys borrowed from Housing, but students will be fined $30 for borrowing a key more than three times or for calling Public Safety to be let into their rooms. Students will also be fined $75 if borrowed keys are not returned within 24 hours.
A grace period will be in effect from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30 of every year, as well as during fire drills.
Kane said the new policy, a collaboration between Housing and Public Safety, was an attempt to reduce the roughly 12,000 lock out reports that Public Safety receives each year.
“Responding to lock outs took about 30 minutes, which equated to 6,000 hours each year,” Kane said. “We wanted students to take responsibility for their keys and better deploy the resources of Public Safety by reducing the hours spent on responding to lock outs.”
Kane described fines as necessary to motivate students not to lose their keys, adding that money raised from fines would cover the “cost involved with administering the policy” and of responding to lock outs.
“With the previous policy, there was little incentive for students to be responsible with their keys,” Kane said. “By having students come to the Housing Office during the day to pick up a temporary key, we hope that students will have an incentive to bring their keys with them and be more responsible.”
“Also, it is anticipated that instituting a fee for lock outs will serve as an incentive for residents to remember their keys,” he added.
While Kane noted that students might disable their locks in order to avoid being locked out, he said he hoped students would not do so.
“It is a concern to both Public Safety and Housing that students may leave their doors unlocked or alter their locksets so doors do not latch fully,” he said. “Through community education and the installation of self-locking hardware, we are hopeful that this issue will be reduced.”
Public Safety director Paul Ominsky directed a request for comment to Kane.