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Monday April 15th

TCNJ implements new academic building access hours to boost security

<p><em>Academic buildings are now unlocked for less hours. (Photo by Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor)</em></p>

Academic buildings are now unlocked for less hours. (Photo by Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor)

By Isabella Darcy 
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The College updated its academic building access hours on March 13 in an effort to make the campus more secure. Academic buildings are now unlocked for a shorter period of time — from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday — according to an email sent to the campus community by Chief of Police Timothy Grant.

Academic buildings are now locked, but accessible with swipe access, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. The only people who are able to gain access to academic buildings during these hours are students and employees of the College who use their TCNJ ID card or TCNJ Mobile ID. 

“This change is one of several steps the College has taken to ensure the safety of our campus community,” said Head Media Relations Officer Luke Sacks. “Locking the academic buildings during these hours provides an extra layer of security.”

This security update comes after the College implemented mandatory safety training for all students and employees. Increasing campus security has been a focal point of discussion among the campus community this academic year. 

Last month, Chris Nitti, associate director of Campus Police services, told The Signal, “Everybody has been used to the open campus concept and everybody enjoys that, but the reality of it is, it's a safety and security concern for the campus.” 

Residential buildings are already locked at all times and are only accessible to those with swipe access.

Some students said they were unaware that open access to academic buildings was revised, while those who are informed have mixed feelings about it.

“I think it’s going to be a bit of a hassle,” said junior elementary education and psychology major Emily Attanasio. 

Academic buildings are not just used for classes. Many clubs and organizations hold meetings and events in them — especially at night. Junior sociology and anthropology major Dana Laissle said the new swipe access could be a hurdle to club members.

“I think it makes it harder to be in student organizations because you have to swipe in, and most organizations start after six,” Laissle said.

Events taking place in academic buildings after 6 p.m. will be automatically accommodated to allow guests entry, provided that they are scheduled through Conference and Event Services, according to Grant.

Those hosting events should be mindful of security risks and adhere to the safety advice provided by Campus Police, such as keeping doors properly closed and avoiding propping them open.

While acknowledging that the College has its reasons for implementing safety procedures, Attanasio suggested a later locking-up time.

“I do see where the school is coming from,” said Attanasio. “I think the time might be a little bit too early, though. I think at 8:30 p.m. they should start locking things up.”

Being required to swipe into buildings at an earlier hour is a transition that may take some getting used to. To make it easier for students, faculty and staff to swipe into buildings, the College introduced TCNJ Mobile ID last semester. 

“The College specifically waited to implement this new schedule until after the mobile credentials were deployed for students during the fall semester,” Sacks said. “We wanted to allow plenty of time for students to get used to using the mobile credentials before making the change.”

Kaitlyn Verney, a senior speech-language pathology and audiology major, uses the mobile ID to conveniently swipe into buildings. She said that still having the ability to swipe into locked buildings is good. 

“I do worry though, if people for some reason lost their ID or something, and they’re just trying to go in,” Verney said. 

If a person loses their ID, they must purchase a new one from the Office of Student Accounts in Green Hall 119 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

In his email, Grant acknowledged that mobile credentials and ID cards sometimes malfunction. If an ID card malfunctions, email for assistance. If a mobile credential malfunctions, submit a ticket through the IT HelpDesk

Keeping the campus safe and secure requires effort from everyone in the community. “Thank you for your cooperation and commitment to keeping our TCNJ community safe,” Grant said.


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