By Angelina Gazzilo
In the past few years, colleges throughout the United States have introduced the use of student ID cards.
Generally, ID cards are issued to all members of the college in order to identify an individual as a member of the college and to prove one’s authorization to be on campus.
The programs are part of colleges’ overall crime prevention programs.
They help avoid thefts and, in some cases, help in the recovery of stolen property.
Additionally, with recent violent incidents occurring on campuses throughout the U.S., the ID card system has helped stop these incidents from happening.
ID cards restrain intruders from entering college-owned buildings, authorize the presence of only members of the college on campus and provide a safer campus environment for students, overall.
Here at Union, a student’s ID card is crucial for accomplishing daily tasks.
For instance, if a student does not have his or her ID card present, he or she is not able to access dinning halls, residence halls, the college convenience store or even enter specific classrooms that require a student ID card to enter.
The Union College Student Handbook states, “You must carry your ID card with you and you are required to produce it upon request of a member of the Campus Safety Department or other authorized agents of the College. Refusal or failure to produce your ID card may result in conduct charges.”
However, in previous years, Union’s staff has been lenient with this policy.
For instance, if a student did not have his or her ID present, he or she was able use his or her ID number in order to make a purchase.
Recently, a new rule has been enforced that prohibits students from using their student ID numbers in place of their ID cards.
That being the case, nowhere in the Union College Student Handbook does it state that a student is not allowed to use their student ID number rather than their ID card, even if they have it on their person.
Reasoning behind this new policy is that there have been instances of students using other students’ ID numbers rather than their own to make purchases on campus — but wouldn’t memorizing another student’s ID number be more difficult than swiping his or her ID?
And yes, staff members entering a student’s ID number into a computer rather than swiping his or her ID could possibly affect the overall time of the transaction, but some students make the honest mistake of forgetting their ID while in a rush, accidently misplace it, lose it or, in some cases, have a damaged ID that doesn’t scan.
Does this mean that we, as hard-working students, deserve to be turned away during common lunch because of this new policy?
Or be refused service because our ID card doesn’t scan, which is not at all the student’s fault, unless the card was damaged at the fault of the student?
While in the process of replacing a student’s ID, the student is handed a blue sheet (after paying a $25 dollar fee) that represents a “Replacement Request Form,” which states the student’s name, his or her ID number and that their card was either lost, stolen or damaged.
Until the student’s new replacement ID is made, he or she must present this form to the staff and only then are the staff able to enter in the student’s ID number into their computers.
Clearly, it is possible to enter a student’s ID number — so why not give the students the opportunity to use this option?
I’m not trying to say that the student ID card system is bad; in fact it has abundant privileges and benefits: a safer campus overall, access to campus recreational centers, access to dining halls, the ability to print in Shaffer Library and many other perks.
There should be alternative options for students who do not have their ID cards present, or a more reliable, efficient system should be installed for students to use.
After all, it is stated on the college’s website that students at Union thrive at the intersections: “Neuroscience and film studies? Chinese and environmental policy? Theater and economics? Let the cross-pollination begin.”
To that, I say: How about, “Dining services and student ID numbers. Let the cross-pollination begin.”