Section: Opinion

K-Card policy may not improve safety

I was dismayed and disappointed to learn about the possibility of the administration adopting a new policy that would limit student K-Card access to only their own dorm during “quiet hours,” which take place from 12 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weeknights and 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekend nights.

Though I understand that concerns for student safety are valid and pressing, I am upset the purported solution is so poorly thought out. This new policy will only complicate student life and inconvenience students while probably doing little — if anything — to actually keep us safe.

Limiting student access in this way may make Kenyon even less safe at night. If students are being followed by a suspicious person or being harassed late at night, they will no longer have the ability to quickly enter a nearby dorm to seek refuge. They will instead have to continue to their dorm, which could be a lengthy walk if they are North and live South, or vice versa.

Laundry poses another issue. Several dorms do not have laundry machines, meaning students must go to another dorm to wash their clothes. It’s often difficult to find an open washing machine during peak hours in facilities that serve students from multiple dorms.

Many people I know opt to do laundry late at night, when there is a better chance that a machine will be open, or when they are less busy. The proposed policy, as far as I know, does not take this into account, meaning these students will be limited to doing laundry at times less convenient for them.

I predict that this proposed policy, intended to keep people with malicious intentions out of student residences, will do very little to prevent this. When I and other Kenyon students see someone around our age loitering outside the entrance to a dorm, we usually assume they just forgot their K-Card inside (as most of us have done at some point). As a result, we pay no mind when they enter through a door someone else has opened for them. In fact, the proposed policy may even make it easier for intruders to get in: Many students will perceive late-night door-loiterers as victims of an unjust and wildly unpopular rule and be even more willing to let them in.

The issue of safety at Kenyon is not a problem that can be resolved with low-effort solutions. It seems to me like the College is looking for an easy fix that they can point to when another major incident occurs, as if to shrug their shoulders and say “we tried.”

The good news is that this policy has not yet been formally adopted. There is still time for us to petition the College to not adopt it. Talk to Student Council. Make angry Facebook posts. Email the Office of Housing and Residential Life. We should demand better. It’s not too late.

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