Electronic Security Door Goes Into Effect at Eliot

The new security door in Eliot House went into operation for the first time this weekend, and most students took the increased precaution in stride, though there was an undercurrent of feeling that the added security is unnecessary.

The door, which is located in the main entry to the House, is controlled by an electronic system and is opened with a plastic card instead of a key.

The Eliot House office has issued all students and tutors these cards, which trip the lock by a magnetic "code" within the card. When the card is placed in the reader located next to the door, the magnetic code is signaled to a computer memory unit in the chilled water plant north of the Yard. If the card's code matches the memory unit, the door is automatically unlocked. Edward Delaney, night superintendent for Eliot House, said yesterday that the door was effective Saturday night in keeping wanderers out of the House. "People who were drunk and just looking for parties turned away and headed toward Kirkland or Winthrop when they saw that the door was locked," he said.

After phoning friends from the door, most visitors waited in the entry to be admitted even though there were many opportunities to speak in when someone else opened the door.

Students seemed generally resigned to increased security though many were not happy with the nuisance of coming down to the main entry to let friends in. Comments about the door ranged from "classy," to "a real pain," and one student said, "It's like Flash Gordon."


"The door is only intended to provide a little added security and its success really rests with the student reaction," Lawrence B. Stevens, assistant senior tutor in Eliot, said yesterday.

The door will probably be locked during the day only when no one is in the superintendent's office, and always at night, Stevens said.

"The coded card has one distinct advantage over a key--it's non-duplicable," he said. "If a card is lost, its code can be erased from the memory unit."

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