The UC’s bill requires workers to obtain a badge from building managers before entering any dormitory. The badge, which “shall be displayed prominently,” will help students to differentiate between dangerous intruders and benign maintenance workers. This legislation wisely addresses the problem of plainclothes contractors who, unlike the uniformed Facilities Maintenance Operations workers and UNICCO janitors, often carry no form of identification. Though seemingly harmless, the gravity of this security risk became clear last October, when a convicted rapist was found roaming the halls of Mather House, posing as a fire-door inspector to try to enter student rooms.
After the intrusion, some residents have become more vigilant about reporting visitors, causing an increased number of false alarms regarding suspicious persons. Increased student vigilance, of course, is always desirable. But this bill will also help to lighten the barrage of false reports, freeing police resources.
Critics of the policy suggest that no such security risk exists even now, for workers are already required to check in with building managers to obtain a key before entering dormitories. Such an argument, however, ignores the importance of having a general atmosphere of safety. A simple form of clear identification will certainly help to foster a feeling of security (and not a false one) for undergraduates within their dorms.
This painless step should be taken immediately. There are no significant barriers that prevent such a policy from being enacted. Student safety must not be compromised.