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Eliot to Survey About Access

House Committee to Ask Residents About Key Card Privilege

By Valerie J. Macmillan

Eliot House has announced plans to poll house residents next week on universalizing key card access, said Kristine Forsgard, co-master of Eliot House.

Unclear on student opinion, the Eliot House Committee has determined that the issue is important enough to merit a house-wide query.

All other houses have instituted universal access, Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 said. Key card access is currently in effect for all other houses from noon until 8 p.m. Any ID card is accepted at entries designated by the House as universal access doors.

"Eliot wished not to participate [initially]; it is unique in that regard," Lewis wrote in an e-mail message yesterday.

Forsgard, who referred to the poll as a vote, will make the final decision with her husband, Eliot House co-master Stephen A. Mitchell.

Forsgard said that some students had raised questions about the security of universal access.

"Some people were opposed to it because of [concerns over] things getting stolen and safety issues," Connie K. Chung '97, Eliot House Committee co-chair, said. "We couldn't call it either way."

Eliot House Committee Co-chair Jason C. Grillo '97 agreed, saying the canvassing would determine House residents' thoughts on the issue. Grillo will prepare the survey, which will include arguments both for and against the proposal.

"The fact was, we didn't have very many people coming to House Committee meetings, so that's why we decided [to do this]," Grillo said. "Once we get some student feedback, we'll tell the masters what the students really want to do."

At least one student supporting universal access said she felt it would actually increase House security.

"I have heard the arguments against it, but I think that basically as it is now, we tend to let more people in anyway, because we know there's not universal key-card access," J. Eli Grigsey '98 said. "I feel like it'd be more safe."

Some House residents contacted last night said they hadn't heard much about the proposal.

"I didn't know this at all. I'm undecided," Robert J. Ruberton '97 said, adding that he would want more information. "I would have to lean toward keeping it the way it is. I don't think I like the idea of every Harvard student having access to the House."

Alice Wang '98, another House resident, said she too had heard little of the proposal.

"It sounds like a good idea," Wang said. "I haven't really thought about it. It sounds fine to me."

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