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Public safety, USG discuss logistics of dorm lockdown

Members of the Safety Committee met yesterday to discuss the 24-hour lockdown of all dormitories, proposed by Public Safety last fall. The plan at that time encountered strong dissent with the U-Council passing a resolution expressing concerns about implementation. Public Safety has since been actively searching for ways to answer these concerns.

In yesterday's meeting, the USG responded to Public Safety's efforts. Most of their concerns were sufficiently addressed, said USG president David Ascher '99.


In the December resolution, the USG voiced the need to provide all students with combination University prox/ID cards by fall of 1998. In the meeting yesterday, Public Safety committed itself to fulfilling this request.

During two weeks in April, all upperclassmen will be able to have a photo taken for a new ID in Dillon Gym. Students who turn in both prox and ID cards will receive the new combination card free of charge, said Dean of Student Life Janina Montero.

"It is still premature in nature. This proposal still has to pass the Undergraduate Student Life Committee, and specifics have yet to be worked out," she added.

Other issues, however, remain unresolved.

With the added safety that would accompany the implementation of a 24-hour lockdown, Public Safety would also obtain unlimited access to information regarding students' whereabouts at all times.

Each time a student proxes into a building, his or her name and exact location appear on a monitor in the Public Safety Headquarters, said Sgt. Jim Glasson.


"Many students expressed how much they dread the idea of Public Safety knowing where they are at all hours of the day," Ascher said. "It's a question of how much value we place on student liberty. Public Safety should not have the ability to track students in real time."

"It smacks of 'Big Brother,' " he added.

Traipsing around campus this past Christmas Eve, looking for a TV room in which to watch South Park, David Kessler '99 proxed himself into buildings all over campus. His harmless activity, repeatedly appearing on Stanhope Hall monitors, prompted a Public Safety investigation.

Though Kessler found it "more amusing than anything else," it was the kind of information access Ascher voiced concern over.

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"We're not saying that Public Safety intends to abuse the data, but the potential is there for abuse in the future," Ascher said.

However, "The USG is satisfied with some sections of the response," Ascher added.

Public Safety has made accommodations to have doors unlocked on special dates, such as move-in day. In addition, they have arranged for guests and prospective students to access dormitories by means of a "short term" prox card, Ascher said.