Section: News

Palm readers to come to the KAC

Palm readers to come to the KAC

K-Card systems provide the only security checkpoints in the KAC.

By Maya Kaufman

In February, the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) will debut its latest security feature: biometric scanners. The scanners, which read palm images, will be placed on varsity locker room doors.

“When the building was built, there were very few security measures,” Assistant Athletic Director and Director of the KAC Justin Newell said. “Therefore, it’s something that we need to pursue now.” The increased security comes partly in response to a string of thefts that began in the fall of 2012 and have continued since initial robbery reports. In April 2013, security cameras were installed after an individual made off with $1,000 worth of golf clubs.

Besides a K-Card scanner at the entrance to the locker room area, there is no further deterrent to accessing individual locker rooms. The biometric scanners are meant to fill this gap in security. Administrators say biometric scanners are a much more practical choice than additional K-Card readers. “A lot of kids … don’t carry their ID card to be able to swipe in, so we thought it necessary to go to the next level,” Newell said.

“We had some thefts, and we wanted to make sure that the students’ property is protected,” said Sustainability Director Ed Neal, who is spearheading the new security project. “The scanners will definitely ensure that an authorized person is entering the locker room.”

Newell expressed confidence that the biometric scanners will “completely restrict thefts that are occurring from outside entities. It is a big roadblock to anybody that would want to go in there, because we know who’s going in and how they’re gaining access.”

The biometric scanners, according to Neal, will cost the College over $9,000. Both he and Newell stated that the cost difference is relatively small between the scanners and new card readers. “It’s not that much more expensive, [and] the efficacy of them is tenfold,” Newell said.

Students who wish to gain access to locker rooms will need to have their hands scanned in order to be added to the system. Scans will be done at the KAC after installation of the scanners is complete and before the system is activated.

“Even though the Athletic Department provides locks for varsity athletes, nobody on our team ever uses them, so it would be nice to have another layer of security,” said Meredith Krieg ’17, who is on the women’s soccer team.

Alexandra Hansen, ’17, who runs track and plays volleyball,  is more skeptical. “Biometric scanners definitely seem like a concept from one of those high-tech movies. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone will react to them. It’ll take some getting used to,” she said.

Besides biometric scanners at the KAC, the College is expanding K-Card access systems to academic buildings, a proposal that the Board of Trustees approved last October. The Student Council Buildings and Grounds Committee reported Sunday that the project was behind schedule, and Neal said those systems would not be installed for another month.

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