Random Hall’s express guest list experiment continues this year
List was dorm’s response to heightened security measures
Random Hall’s express guest list system, implemented this past spring, is continuing into its second year. A similar program at Maseeh, implemented in fall 2014, will also continue.
The program allows residents of Random to extend card access to five people who can enter the dorm by tapping their MIT IDs at the outside entrance rather than check in at the security desk. Random also maintains additional, non-express guest lists, but guests on these lists do not get card access and must see the security desk.
Maseeh residents can put three people on express guest lists. These guests must still check in at the desk, but their IDs grant them access at the elevators, which, unlike elevators in other residence halls, require people to tap their IDs.
Express guests must be MIT students and will have access only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. daily.
Random and Maseeh are unique among the dorms for their express guest list systems. Most of the other dorms have guest lists which require visitors to check in at the front desk. Policies for editing the lists and for guest check-in vary. The one exception is East Campus, which does not have a security desk. According to Senior Associate Dean for Student Life Henry J. Humphreys, due to the layout of the dorm and its entrances, there is no feasible way to set up a security desk or a implement a guest policy there.
Origin of express guest lists
Express guest lists at Random were introduced in response to residents’ frustration over changes in security policies, especially the installment of Allied-Barton workers at the previously student-run security desk and the requirement that all guests stop by the desk to check in, even if accompanied by a resident. In order to help address these complaints, last spring, Housemaster Nina Davis-Millis worked with Random residents on creating the new express guest list policy.
Humphreys said that the express guest list policy in Random was “a way to help make sure that people were complying with the new policies” while “still allowing for the type of community that has existed” in the dorm.
Apart from minor complaints, such as the fact that alumni, who often visit Random, cannot have express guest access, the majority of Random thinks the new policy is an improvement. “Express guests lists are a lot better than no express guest lists,” said Random Co-President Taylor S. Sutton ’17.
Before the implementation of the express guest system last fall, Maseeh had no guest list system whatsoever. The express guest list policy was created in order for Maseeh to have a guest list system in the first place, as all other dorms do.
Implementation at other dorms
According to Humphreys, the express guest lists are labor-intensive to set up. Residents must submit the names of their desired guests. Then these names must be compared so that none of them overlap. Finally, guests must be manually entered into the computer system in order to activate their IDs.
Because this process is difficult, the effective date of express guest lists is later than that of regular guest lists, and there are no plans to implement express guest lists in other dorms.
“Until we can come up with a new guest management system that we can employ across all houses, this is how we have to operate for the moment,” Humphreys said.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 16, express guest lists in Random Hall are active. Residents have until Oct. 1 to edit them before the lists are frozen for the semester.