Universalize Key-Card Access

As the situation now stands, Harvard undergraduates are used to having to fight their way into Houses other than their own. That may change slightly if the Committee on House Life agrees with Lowell House Master William H. Bossert '59 and the rest of the informal subcommittee on universal key card access, which will propose that undergraduates be granted 24-hour access to the main entries of each house.

At first glance, limiting access to Houses seems like a reasonable safety precaution. But in reality, limited access is self-defeating, as it places undergraduates who do not have access to certain buildings in greater danger than it protects those who live in the buildings.

The boundarioes of the Harvard undergraduate community encompass the entire house system. The policy on key-card access should reflect that, allowing undergraduates to be able to freely move about within the House system.

Universal key-card access would not only pose no safety risk to the undergraduate community, but it would also increase the safety of undergraduates. For one thing, no students going to a house other than their own would have to make themselves a target of a crime by waiting for an opportunity to enter. Also, having access to any house at any time would allow students sensing themselves in a potentially dangerous situation to duck into a house for safety. Finally, students would be less likely to swipe a stranger into their own house, as they would realize that all Harvard undergraduates should be able to enter with their own cards.

In order for students to enjoy the full breadth of benefits that universal key-card access affords, universal access must apply to every entryway, not just the main one. Frantically searching for the main entry of a house is nearly as much a safety hazard as having no access at all.


Ultimately, the masters of each of the houses will decide how extensive access to each house will be. We urge both the Committe on House LIfe and the masters of all houses to adopt a policy of universal entryway access.

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