College issues new ID cards, upgrades security system

Last week, upperclassmen exchanged their College identification cards for new versions that include a proximity chip and a magnetic stripe.

Waving the new IDs near a compatible sensor will allow the reader to recognize the proximity chip and activate the corresponding lock or other mechanism, as opposed to swiping the magnetic stripe through a reader.

“It will be nice to just hold my phone, with the ID card situated in the back, up to the sensor without having to take it out every time I swipe into the entry,” Ben Young ’18 said. The College implemented the first proximity chip sensor at the west door of Stetson Hall. When the library closes at night, the proximity sensor allows students to access the study rooms and the fifth floor classrooms in Stetson Hall.

The College plans to equip Weston Field and WCMA with the sensors in the near future. This year, the College plans to install the proximity sensors in phases, on all entrances to campus buildings. Dining halls, vending machines, library checkout and laundry will also be able to recognize the proximity chips once the new sensors are installed. This semester, the College plans to install an updated reader in Whitman’s Dining Hall, according to Director of Dining Services, Robert Volpi. Director of Campus Safety and Security Dave Boyer believes that in the future, the cards could also be used for banking.

The new IDs are part of a larger shift to the S2 security system, which replaces a more than 20-year-old system and includes several upgrades.

“This system allows us to integrate fire and intrusion detection into one system,” Boyer, said. “The HID1 proximity cards are more secure than the magnetic stripe cards.”

Diane Gottardi, the senior designer and art director at the Office of Communications, designed the new cards.

“A student informed me that people have accused her of having a fake ID, with the old design,” Boyer said.

The simpler design is meant to prevent such accusations.

Boyer said he was pleased with the implementation of the IDs, but the transition was not without problems.

“The cards arrived in the 23rd hour,” Boyer said, as Security obtained the cards one day before first-years arrived. Some of the new cards have discoloration due to issues with the film used to print them.

When students lose cards, Security will charge students $15 to replace the new cards, up from $10. The new IDs display the same picture as the previous ones, but those who wish to retake their pictures may pay a  $15 “vanity fee,” according to Boyer.

Faculty members will receive new IDs shortly.