Card Key Article Was Misleading


In the article "Quincy Gets New Card Key System" (April 9, 1994), The Crimson reports that "the card key system currently used in all of the first-year dormitories as well as North House and Quincy House "allows the Harvard University Police Department to keep track of when and where the access cards are used." This statement is, at best, grossly misleading.

Last year, the Administrative Board, after consulting with the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard, adopted a policy restricting the release of information recorded by the card key system.

The University may not release the record of a student's entry into a building without the specific authorization of the student or the dean of the College.

The information will be released to the Harvard policy only "under circumstances when the information is investigating a crime or other incident related to campus security." Students will then be notified of the release of the information and be provided with a copy of the information.

Furthermore, the system is not maintained by the Harvard police but by the Office of Physical Resources. Although the Harvard police monitor the system for problems such as a door being held open for too long or the use of a card reported loss, the system itself and the data it collects are not under its control.

This is the second time this year that The Crimson has made such an error when discussing the card key system, despite having covered the issue in some detail last academic year; CLUH's efforts to have the Ad Board protect the privacy of the information collected by the system was the subject of a feature article on January 15, 1993.

I hope the Crimson will seek to avoid making such gross errors again in the future. Jol A. Silversmith '94