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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
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My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

System makes using cards for entry the rule

On Nov. 16, NMU Housing and Residence Life implemented a new card access system in the residence halls and Woodland Park which improves security to those locations by linking a student’s access to their Wildcat Express Card. A student’s ID card is now the only way for students to enter their residence halls at night.

John Frick, associate director of Housing and Residence Life said the university decided on this system to increase security.

“It’s more efficient to manage the locking system for the exterior doors in the residence halls with this system,” Frick said.

When a student swipes their ID card, the information is sent to a squadron box, which in turn relays the information to Public Safety. A student’s name, NMU identification number, along with a timestamp and whether or not the card allowed entry are sent through the system.

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Frick said only the management of Public Safety and certain administrators at the Housing and Residence Life office can access the information. That means public safety officers, resident directors, and resident advisors cannot directly access the information.

The information is stored only in case there is a need for its use; staff members are not monitoring students’ card swipes, said Frick.
Frick also said the use of keys in exterior doors had to end because allowing them would negate the whole purpose of the system.

“If there was ever a situation on campus where we had to lock the doors, Public Safety could automatically lock the doors from their station. In the old system, staff or Public Safety would have to go around and manually lock every single door,” Frick said.

While students still must pay a replacement fee for their ID if it is lost, Frick said the cost is significantly less than paying to have a new key cut. Also, an ID’s access to the exterior doors of a student’s residence hall can be deactivated as soon as it is reported lost.

Brett DeLonge, resident director of Spalding Hall, said he fully supports the new system because keys cannot be re-obtained, but a lost card can be made unusable without having to cut a new key or install a new lock.

“It minimizes our disbursement of keys so we don’t have so many keys floating around the university. It’s more convenient for the student because they use their card for so many things,” he said.

DeLonge said the system gives him a greater sense of safety because there’s no question about whether a door is secure or not.
“If something’s not secure, it can be made secure at the click of a mouse or the touch of a button,” he said.

Tawny Valencia, resident adviser in Gant Hall, said having doors that lock automatically makes her feel more comfortable when going on rounds in her hall.

“It makes you certain that you didn’t miss a door, and to have them all locked at the same time is beneficial because if a more pressing issue, like a fight, came up you wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting to lock a door,” she said.

Still, Valencia said she has a few minor concerns with the system.

“When people prop open the doors, those card access systems are based on battery life, so what happens when the battery runs out? Can everyone get in? Can no one get in?” Valencia said.

Frick said that when a battery does run out, a notification is sent to Public Safety that the card swipe is inactive. However, he said he was uncertain if the door would remain locked when a battery expires.

Frick said the system was purchased from the CBORD Group, Inc., at cost of slightly more than $600,000.

Jon Mangas, an NMU sophomore from Spalding Hall, said he was surprised at the high cost of the system.

Mangas said the card system could be convenient, but he has been experiencing difficulty with accessing his residence hall exterior door.

“The keyless entry’s nice, but it doesn’t work every time,” Mangas said. “I had my card reset; it worked for three days and now no longer works in certain doors.”

Frick said he acknowledged students’ difficulties, but he also said he has heard very few issues. If students have technical problems with the system, Frick said they should report them to their resident advisor or resident director.

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