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The Dartmouth
February 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Deliverers deal with door locks

With the advent of dormitory door locks, many businesses and student groups are facing new restrictions on their activities that have forced them to reevaluate their distribution practices.

While companies that service vending machines, maintain laundry equipment and provide door-to-door laundry service have been given limited access to dorms, other area businesses and campus groups have been banned from delivering their product -- be it pizza or student publication -- to the dorms.

The Office of Residential Life installed the locks this summer and activated them campus-wide at the beginning of Fall term. Since then, administrators have greatly increased their emphasis on dorm security.

Due to their contractual agreements with the College, authorized vendors have been issued a limited number of access cards that double as workers' identification. According to Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman, the authorized businesses' employees have photo ID access cards.

Additionally, Director of Housing Operations Woody Eckels said the vendor cards are active only during certain daylight hours.

But while contractors are granted limited access to the dorms, most local businesses are officially barred from entering the residential halls. Delivery services such as those run by Everything But Anchovies or Ramunto's Pizza must deliver to the dorm entrances.

Redman cited the inability to conduct personnel evaluation as the primary justification for these restrictions. "They are outside folks, there are no background checks," he said.

However, students bringing food to dorms for Dartmouth Dining Services must also have customers meet them at the door.

Despite the inconvenience to delivery workers, Evat Dowd, a manager at EBAs said, "It's necessary for safety reasons." In the event that an employee of a non-authorized business is found conducting business inside a residence hall, the College will contact the employer and request a reprimand.

But should the employee in question happen to be a student of the College, ORL may alter the student's access privileges, removing the person's ability to enter any dorms other than their own.

While the contractors enjoy limited access and food delivery services must stop at the dorm doors, the access rights of both student and off-campus publications have yet to be defined.

All publications are currently prohibited from conducting any dorm deliveries, but student publications that are financed by the Council on Student Organizations are currently negotiating distribution rights with ORL.

The COSO publications, which include the Jack-O-Lantern humor magazine and the liberal Dartmouth Free Press newspaper, among others, are evaluating their distribution options.

Redman said that a recently proposed compromise could see a single distribution center placed in each dorm cluster. While this solution would allow dorm distribution to take place, it would confirm the end of door-to-door delivery for COSO publications.

Should it be implemented, the new distribution system may require publications to reduce the number of copies that they produce. Redman suggested this would help to reduce waste by ensuring that only interested students would receive copies.

Jack-O-Lantern editor Nicolas Duquette '04 said he believes that the new measure won't hurt the reader base, " I don't think it's a bad thing." Duquette said he though that mass blitzes and posters would alert interested students.

Dorm distribution rights for the Dartmouth Review, an off-campus conservative newspaper, and a student-managed New York Times subscription service have yet to be established.

Redman met with Review editor John Scholer '04 yesterday in order to work toward an agreement. The meeting took place several days after the Review distributors made what Redman identified as unauthorized door-to-door deliveries in several dorms.

Scholer maintained that the most recent delivery of the Review broke "no rule in the student handbook." Even so, he said that the Review would not conduct any more door-to-door operations.

According to Scholer, no decision was reached regarding future dorm distribution at his meeting with Redman and said that the new restrictions are not being perceived as an attack on the Review. "They affect the publications equally."

Travis Escobedo '03, the coordinator of a student-run delivery service for the New York Times, is currently involved in dialogue with Redman, who suggested that the Times service might adopt a limited-access version of the COSO distribution arrangement.

If this system were to be adopted, subscribers would be able to remove their copy of the newspaper from the distribution box only with a key or an ID card.

Due to binding agreements with paying subscribers, the service has permission to conduct door-to-door deliveries until the end of Fall term.