The Office of Residential Living activated new GOCard security measures at the start of the semester that limit access to stairwells and elevators in residence halls to increase campus wide security.
A recent email sent from the Office of Residential Living and Department of Public Safety to the Georgetown community noted that students will be required to swipe their GOCards to access the elevators and stairwells of residence halls. These security upgrades have not been implemented in Copley, LXR, Walsh and on-campus apartment buildings. Students will still swipe their GOCards with the security guards in their buildings.
“Starting spring semester, access to upper floors of residence halls will require the use of your GOCard at the stairwells and elevators. In order to access upper floors, you will need to swipe a valid GOCard,” Georgetown University Police Department Chief Jay Gruber and Assistant Dean for Residential Living Stephanie Lynch wrote.
Upgrades have not yet been implemented in certain residences due to monetary issues.
Gruber aims for all residence halls to implement these new security measures once funding becomes available.
“All the residence halls have it with the exception of Copley, LXR and Walsh,” Gruber said. “We didn’t have the extra funding.”
According to Gruber, the changes in security measures are not a result of any particular incident.
“The decision was made a year ago. We collaborated with Residential Living on the project and it took some time to work through the procurement and installation process,” Gruber wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Gruber said he had concerns about the university’s previous security measures, which required students to swipe their GOCards on exterior doors and with a student or security guard. Gruber said this system was vulnerable to human error and exacerbated when large groups of students enter residence halls.
“We were concerned about the human factors elements of checking the GOCards of every person entering a residence hall and wanted to go up the elevators and the stairs. It is sometimes difficult to check every GOCard, especially when large groups enter a building,” Gruber said.
Electrical Systems Analyst Alvin Brown said these changes affect campus residence halls but that on-campus apartments such as Village A and Nevils are not affected.
Gruber does not anticipate that the new security measures will cause any significant changes to student life.
“All we are requiring is one extra GOCard swipe to accomplish what students have always done to enter a residence hall,” Gruber wrote.
Despite Gruber’s hope that students will not be inconvenienced by the new security measures, Alice Beneke (COL ’19) said the new changes are inconvenient and redundant, since there are already other security barriers in place.
“It’s really inconvenient and I think its honestly kind of pointless because you already have you swipe into the building and then you have to give your GOCard to be swiped by the student Guard,” Beneke said.
According to Gruber, other universities in the area already have similar measures in place.
“Most universities would have a system to use a card to get into the residence halls and also access the elevators and stairwells,” Gruber said.
Kieran Jenkins (MSB ’18) said he does not mind the new changes and believes it is a necessary step for safety.
“It’s not really a big difference. It just takes like a second to swipe and honestly with everything going on it is probably better to have the security,” Jenkins said.
Matt Treacy (COL ’19) said he also understands the reasoning behind the changes but still sees some flaws in the new security measures.
“I think it’s not super necessary — plus if I were someone that actually wants to do something weird in the dorms I would just wait until someone swipes in and goes in the elevator,” Treacy said.
GUPD is also developing an alarm management system, which will alert GUPD anytime an exterior door of a residence hall is left open for an extended period time or is propped open.
This new system will be ready in a few weeks.