Author: Ian Mariani
Over this upcoming winter break, the final three halls that are accessed by brass keys will be converted to ID card access. Braun, Stearns and Haines will all be brought into the 21st century, allowing on-campus students to now only worry about one item that will get them everything: food, books and access to everywhere they need to go on campus. If that is indeed the vision, this change should be followed by an administrative decision to give students equal access to all residence halls for the sake of one safe, cohesive living environment.
The first benefit reaped would be increased security for each of the halls. Because students would no longer see the need to prop open doors for their friends that may be visiting from other halls, the possibility of local intrusions is decreased.
In addition, there would also no longer be the dangerous scenario of a student waiting outside for a friend who lives in the hall to open the door for them. Some would argue that this change could cause an increase in inter-hall pranks and crime, but considering the apparent abundance of intra-hall destruction (sorry to the RAs and their decorations), the question remains about the legitimacy of that concern.
In addition to security improvements, this opening of the halls to all students would encourage programming attendance by different hall residents. Hall staff are always throwing T.V. viewing parties or video game tournaments that would likely benefit from the expanded attendance of more than just those who have access to the hall, thus turning the activities into community-inclusive events.
This new freedom would help continue the opportunities for group learning like those made possible in the first-year living experience. In our first-year, most of us were able to get together with our CSP members to study because they lived in the same hall as us. That immediately becomes harder when classes are no longer housed together, invariably discouraging students from taking advantage of great learning spaces in the halls, especially Rangeview. Opening the residence halls as study spaces to students would solve this problem and reduce the overcrowding that lower campus study stations have been burdened with.
Occidental prides itself on having a strong living community that is founded on equal opportunity and fundamental trust. When the goal of all key-card access is accomplished this winter, the chance to further realize that foundation will be primed. If we can trust students to not burn down their own residence hall, who’s to say we can’t trust them not to burn them all down?
This editorial represents the collective opinion of the Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the editorial board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental Community.
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