As a senior, I have spent the last four years accepting the illogical policy of not having universal key card access, but as this issue is coming up for discussion, I think that it is important for students to express their frustration about this policy. For me, this policy indicates that the administration does not truly trust the students in this community.
There are a number of reasons why students need access to the houses, whether it be safety, putting up posters, visiting friends or attending meetings. I recently had to attend a meeting in Kirkland House and had incorrectly remembered the phone number of the students hosting the meeting and received a message that the number I was trying to reach had been disconnected. I then asked the guard to let me into their entryway after showing him my Harvard I.D.
The guard, instead of letting me in, started interrogating me on who I was visiting, why I was going there and why I couldn't get in. He went on to tell me that if the number was disconnected then the students I was looking for weren't there and I should not be trying to gain access to their room. I would understand this tirade if I had not been able to prove that I attend school here, but I see no reason for there to be such a distrust of the students within the Harvard community.
I was very upset not just by the gruff manner of the guard but also by his suspicion of me. I think that universal key card access is necessary and practical and would set a standard for having confidence in the students we have on campus. I am frankly very tired of the hoops that one must jump through in order to gain access to the buildings of my College. I hope that universal key card access will not just continue as a rumor but will finally come to fruition this year--it is time that the administration trust the students of Harvard with this simple privilege. Karima A. Ridgley '98