Locks impending for Student Center

Card-access doors overnight for W20, precise times still undecided

The Campus Activities Complex (CAC) plans to replace the nearly 25-year-old front doors of the Student Center with new doors equipped with locks and card readers.

“The doors on the building are quite old,” said Phillip J. Walsh, director of the CAC. “They don’t close properly, they don’t seal, they don’t really keep in the heat in the winter and the cooling in the summer.”

Two of the five new doors will also have card readers installed, which will allow only MIT cardholders access to the Student Center during the late hours of the night. The CAC Advisory Board, which consists of about 15 representatives from different student governments and groups, has been charged with setting the nighttime locking hours for the Student Center. According to Geoffrey G. Thomas, a graduate student on the Advisory Board, the CAC is looking to lock the Student Center after all events have ended for the night, and reopen in the morning before business hours.

According to Thomas, concern for student safety is “one of the bigger reasons that they want to do this.”

“We regularly have an issue, I guess you could say, with transients and folks that come into the building because it’s so open,” said Walsh. “This would be a way to try to address that.”

Aleksandar F. Radovic-Moreno, an MIT graduate student, said that he’s seen people “that definitely don’t look like students hanging around for several hours at a time.”

According to MIT police logs dated between Sept. 26 and Oct. 18 of this year, campus police responded to four separate incidents in which homeless subjects were issued trespass warnings after being found asleep in the Student Center. On Sept. 29 at 4:12 a.m., two homeless people were found asleep in the Student Center. Both were given trespass warnings. Again, on Oct. 1 at 5:40 a.m., two homeless people were issued trespass warnings.

The locks on the Student Center should only serve to deter non-MIT cardholders from accessing the Student Center late at night, and Thomas expects them to have no impact on MIT affiliates.

“I don’t see any downside to it,” added Radovic-Moreno. “I carry around my ID card at all times … so I don’t see how that would impact me negatively in any way.”

The CAC has already put in an order for the doors, and facilities is waiting on sufficient funding to go through with the project .

“Right now we’re waiting for verification that the doors have been ordered,” said Walsh. “This is a fairly expensive project, so it has to come out of facility budgets.”

The CAC hopes to install the doors by the beginning of spring term.