Housing and Dining Services is concerned that the â€œElectronic keys = stupidâ€ editorial that ran in the Collegian on Tuesday did not provide the full story on electronic access to the residence halls.
In a post Virginia-Tech era, safety in and around campus buildings, and especially in residence halls, is a top priority for us, as it should be.
The electronic access system provides some very valuable safety features that we do not think should be overlooked including, but not limited to: the ability to lock down buildings in the event of an emergency, logs of who has entered a building and when, and notification anytime an exterior door has been open for longer than 60 seconds. While the electronic access system does have higher upfront installation costs, it is worth noting that the operation of the electronic system is much cheaper and safer as we are able to deactivate a lost or stolen access card immediately rather than waiting for the time and expense of having a locksmith replace a standard lock.
We are also able to reprogram locks and keys to accommodate the 5,300 students who live in the halls and the thousands of conference guests we host on campus each summer.
Much like a hotel, there are fiscal, safety and convenience reasons for us to switch to the electronic access system throughout the halls. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes. We would rather do more than less to ensure campus safety.
Jim Dolan is the Executive Director of Housing & Dining Services.