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Any bureaucracy as large as Harvard has many seemingly foolish policies. Fortunately, most of these policies have some logic behind them. The one exception is Harvard's policy on key-card access. Not only is it counterintuitive, it is outright idiotic.
Harvard supposedly gave students universal key card access last year, but it turned out to be semi-universal, a phrase akin to semi-pregnant. Currently, students have partial access to restricted areas at restricted times. To which areas at what times is unknown and incomprehensible.
The first reason that Harvard has for denying universal access is safety. Apparently, the student body has many brooding criminals ready to go "postal" if they can get into other houses. Never mind that all these would-be felons can just wait a few minutes for a colleague to let them in, and that the lack of universal access means propped doors across campus. If Harvard students had universal access to all houses and dorms, we would think twice before letting a waiting stranger into a house or dorm.
In addition, it is more unsafe for students to be locked out of houses late at night. It would increase safety if students walking home in the dark could quickly enter a dorm if the need arose. Also, due to randomization, students and their friends are more universally spread across the Houses and they need universal key card access.
Failure to implement universal key card access is the result of administrative opposition. Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 should take the initiative and mandate universal key card access. The reasons for continuing restricted access are inane, and the reasons against it are overwhelming. Harvard should quit trying to square this circle: Let us go where we want, when we want.
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