by Holly Shoot
“After the installation of the card scans at the University Commons (UC) apartments didn’t keep out intruders, we decided that the apartments needed more than just heavier doors to protect our students,” said RIT’s lead student security investigator Oliver Protekt. “We knew that we needed to take more intense security measures to meet students’ demand for safety.” This concern served as the inspiration for RIT’s newest security measure: retina scanners on every UC entrance.
The new scans are being installed on April 5 with the announcement for the initiative only coming a week beforehand. When presenting this news to students, RIT stressed the benefits of the initiative. Coupled with keeping students safer, the new addition to apartments will increase RIT’s national college rankings as a leader in security technology.
However, with this new requirement for entry came new concerns. For instance, eye safety has been a hot topic amongst those involved in the decision making process. As RIT’s chief safety specialist, Sadie Furst explained, “We haven’t had a student lose an eye at RIT yet, but have you seen the writing utensils students are always using? Don’t look too close!”
In order to diminish student concern RIT has two plans of action, explained Furst. First, Facilities Management Services will be sanding down any sharp edges located on campus as well as some at affiliated locations to minimize danger to all students. RIT’s second focus is more directed towards UC residents in particular. These students will be provided with eye safety kits composed of a pair of safety goggles and a pamphlet listing activities to avoid. These activities include taking notes with a writing utensil of any kind and playing sports that involve any sort of stick or broom.
“We know students will appreciate all of our hard work,” said Furst. However, many UC residents are criticizing the new retina scan saying that it does not address their concerns. “Now it is even more difficult to let my friends into the apartment,” said fourth year Social Media major Han Gout. “No one wants the retina scans. Don’t they know this?”
In response to these criticisms, RIT administration released a statement saying that the results of a UC resident satisfaction survey was taken into account when making the decision: As an area for improvement, safety was ranked sixth. “All of the other areas for improvement were more leisure based so we thought that we could address them later,” said Protekt. “Safety is always our first priority.”
The other areas of improvement listed on the survey — apartment buzzers, maintenance, soundproofing, pest control and roommates cleaning their dishes — all came before safety. “Yup, just leisure stuff,” repeated Protekt.
Some students believe that their concerns are being disregarded and are already making plans to address the issues themselves. “I know a bunch of Medical Illustration people who have been working day and night to come up with a way to make contact lens keys for your friends that will deceive the stupid retina thing,” said one anonymous student, third year Ponzi Economics major Mary Scalper. “I can get you some if you want. You just have to pay $50 up front.”
Other students have vandalized the scanners in hopes of gaining easier access to the apartments. However, this has set off the lockdown feature of the retina scanning systems, forcing dozens of students to sleep on the lawns of UC every night.
Some students believe that this security feature decreases student safety but Furst reassures, “This bug in the system will be worked out soon enough.” For now, Furst believes that the most important thing to do is “have students look out for glass in the lawn before laying their heads — and their eyes — in the grass for the night.”
“We just hope that students remember that we are doing this all for them and their benefit,” said Protekt. As far as what improvements will be made to UC next, Protekt said, “We hope to install retina scans on the inside of the windows as well, just to be sure.”