Central Michigan University students react to growing use of key card readers


Mount Pleasant freshman Natalie Kea poses while using her student ID to swipe into the elevators in Campbell Hall in the Towers complex on Oct. 1.

Some Central Michigan University students are "annoyed" by the growing use of Central Card readers on residential hall doors.

The installation of key card readers on residence hall doors began in summer 2017 in the Towers resident hall complex and graduate student housing. CMU implemented the multi-year plan as a collaborative effort among the CMU Police Department, Residence Life, Facilities Management and the Office of Information Technology. 

Crews completed the last of three phases of safety and security updates to campus buildings and residences in August 2018. Now, CMU's 22 residence halls and graduate housing have electronic card reader access. 

Access controls are located on exterior side doors and interior doors leading to residential living areas; however, main corridors within each hall remain open to ensure open access to classrooms and residential restaurants. 

The new security system requires residents to use their CMU ID to enter. 

Dexter sophomore Megan Friedman said she often has the inconvenience of fumbling through her pockets or backpack to find her keys as she approaches a key card reader. 

If a student opens exterior residential hall doors after 10 p.m., a sharp, high-pitched alarm will sound.  

Okemos sophomore Audra Francis said a lot of returning students living in the South Campus residence halls have triggered the alarm since they are not accustomed to the new system. Those who open exterior doors and continue to exit are recorded for later instruction.

There is not a set protocol for how to deal with students who trip the alarm. Residence hall desk receptionists -- deskies -- are supposed to record the violators, but it occurs so often that the residence assistants and residence hall directors do not have the time to deal with it, Dexter sophomore Christopher Eakin said. 

“So many students are frustrated,” Francis said. “It is really hard for returning students to get use to the new system, but freshman haven’t had a problem with it.” 

The Thorpe Hall resident assistant said the only thing that the card readers have changed is students must exit the residential halls through the front doors rather than the side exterior doors. 

“They should go back to how it was during the day when the outside doors were unlocked,” Eakin said. “The key card readers aren’t keeping students any safer. People will just wait outside the door for student with access to the residence hall to enter.” 

While most students who are asked about their feelings regarding the card readers find the growing use to be "annoying" or "inconvenient," most students understand the university's intent, which is to "enhance campus safety," according to a CMU News article

The North Campus residential halls will be the next buildings on CMU’s campus to undergo the change.