SA discusses new dorm delivery rules

by Charles Gardner | 5/15/02 5:00am

Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman defended the College's new door-locking system -- which has been installed across campus but not yet activated -- during Student Assembly's weekly meeting last night.

Responding to the concerns of Assembly members over the timing, motivation and potential effects of the new door-locking mechanisms, Redman said the decision to implement the card-access system had been spurred primarily by safety concerns.

"Students should not have to be fearful" of unwanted intruders entering residential spaces, he said of the system, which he hoped would begin by the start of Summer term.

Other students, however, took issue with the policy that all non-College-contracted businesses -- including independent student-run publications as well as restaurant delivery services -- will be barred from using the card access system to enter dormitories for commercial purposes.

Under the new system, students must come to dormitory entrances themselves to greet delivery persons.

Kendra Quincy Kemp '02 disagreed that student publications and other campus organizations deserved to be lumped together with outside businesses, like Ramunto's Pizzeria, but Redman said total prohibition represented the only fair way to address the issue.

"If we say yes to door-to-door delivery to one business, we have to say yes to all," he said. Nor, Redman added, can student employees of outside businesses use their entry privileges to deliver goods directly to student's rooms.

Such a violation would result in restricting a student's card access to only his or her own dormitory, Redman said, an action which Assembly member Tara Maller '03 questioned.

Maller said that barring a student from entering other residential halls would prove "counterproductive" to the overarching safety goals of the door-locking system, since students would be unable to seek shelter in dormitories in case of emergency.

Redman admitted that he had not examined the issue exhaustively, but suggested that students in such a situation would be able to use the telephones installed in each exterior card-entry to contact Safety and Security.

Assembly member Tom White '04 said that limiting the distribution of publications risked infringing on the first amendment's guarantee of free speech.

"You're still free to write whatever you want," Redman responded, but said there was a distinction to be drawn between freedom of expression and violating others' privacy.

Redman also addressed concerns that administrators would be able to monitor the flow of students entering and leaving dormitories.

Redman acknowledged that the door-locking system would provide a temporary record of which students and staff members had entered residential buildings, but said such information would only be used "in the course of a criminal investigation. ... We're not going to have everyday access to it."

Redman also assured students that all sophomores would receive the updated College ID cards for the coming Summer term if the new system were to be activated.

White and Matt Oppenheimer '05, co-chairs of the Assembly's committee on alcohol policy, also presented the results of a recent survey which examined student responses to the recently announced recommendations for revising the College's alcohol policy.

While most students approved of eliminating the tier system for parties and expanding the Good Samaritan policy, according to White, other recommendations encountered significant opposition.

Nearly 90 percent of the 877 student respondents said they either "disapproved" or "strongly disapproved" of defining a party as a gathering involving "more than 8-10 persons in a single space." If alcohol were present at such a "party," College regulations would mandate notifying Safety and Security and securing their consent.

Students also strongly disagreed with the current ban on the outdoor consumption of alcohol, with 77 percent of respondents disapproving of the policy.

Communications Chair and Student Body Vice-President-elect Julia Hildreth '05 announced the results of a survey on student opinion of the Assembly, in which nearly half of all students were unsure of the Assembly's accomplishments over the past year.

Approximately half of the 426 students who responded cited the work of the student services committee as the "most important" achievement of the Assembly, while a majority of students said they were "content" with the College's social offerings.