By Henri Gendreau
In an effort to reduce cases of thefts, K-Card access systems will be installed on most academic buildings. If approved by the Board of Trustees this fall, this will help to secure facilities at night.
“I think the College feels that we have an obligation to protect the campus community and this is a step in better protecting them,” said Sustainability Director Ed Neal, who has been charged with spearheading the project.
The K-Card readers will remain disarmed and disabled during the day, and will lock at a time determined by the heads of various academic departments. Neal said the College is currently working on setting locking times and getting the software ready.
President Sean Decatur said the system would be “much more practical,” but added that the role of technology and safety would be an important conversation for the community to have.
“There always is this balance between doing what we can and thinking about what technology feels right tokeep the campus safe and minimize theft,” he said, “and at the same time doesn’t make it feel like we’re living in a police state.”
Last May, the Board approved the project and will decide the scope of the security plan this fall. Currently, the College hopes to update or install access systems to many buildings, which may include the library, Peirce Hall, Ascension Hall, the Church of the Holy Spirit, Cromwell Cottage, Ransom and Stephens Halls, the Science Quad, Rosse and Storer Halls, the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC), art buildings and theaters.
The plan also calls for “biometric” readers to the team locker rooms at the KAC, which will require authorized users to scan their fingerprints to enter the room.
“I know progressively every campus you see has more and more access control,” Neal said. “Access control offers you a lot of advantages that you don’t have with keys,” such as having the ability to lock down the College, and tell who is in a given building if a theft occurs.
“I think it is something that we need to keep working at bit by bit to get all of our buildings where we have access control,” Campus Safety Director Bob Hooper said.
Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman mentioned the project in response to a Collegian inquiry about any new College policies after some thefts last December.
“We are still working out the details of when the installation of the hardware and software will take place,” he said in the Sept. 5 email.
Neal said if the Board approves the plan as is at its mid-October meeting, the College would install roughly 38 K-Card readers and 151 door “monitors,” which would indicate when a door was open. Neal said the plan could cost the College over $300,000, but that the College is still “in the process of crunching all the numbers.”
He estimates the construction time at four weeks, but said the systems for each building would be turned on gradually to work out the bugs in the system.
“There are moments where safety concerns are compelling,” Decatur said, “and there are ways in which we should at times use technology or use what’s available to help protect safety.”