Dorms get new entry system

When on-campus students entered their residence halls this fall, the new security-card entry systems next to the door were readily noticeable.

The new system, from Stanley Security Solutions, uses proximity readers to read Geneseo ID cards rather than a magnetic swipe, as had been the case in the past.

The upgrade, according to John Haley, systems manager of administration and finance, was made as joint effort between Campus Auxiliary Services, Facilities Services, CIT and University Police. It was a result of security concerns about the old magnetic swipe system, which is still used at the Saratoga Terrace.

According to Haley, "The previous system was from a vendor that was defunct and there would be problems with future upgrades." He said most staff are pleased with the new system. "The sciences [of the system] are very creative, they have set up three different levels [of security] and they control who gets in where," he said.

The new system cost about $500,000, not including labor. Haley believes the investment is well worth the money: "I don't know how to put a cost on it if the old system went down."

Haley said the new system will be more difficult to counterfeit because it no longer uses magnetic strips. "The card has a small chip, wire, and antenna. It works like a Mobil Speedpass."

If one punches a hole in a card, the system will no longer work, as many students have found out.

Students will access the dorms using the last four digits of their Geneseo ID number rather than their social security number, a measure that is also intended to increase security. The system is on a network of computers that allow Residence Life to see when someone enters and exits the buildings at all times.

Reactions from faculty and staff around the campus have been very positive. Nicolette Lynn, the new residence director of Jones Hall, said she finds the new system convenient and safe.

"This is definitely a very easy system," she said. "If I have my hands full and my card is in my purse somewhere, I can just swipe that past the system and get access."

Despite the improvements, there are still a few glitches in the system. As many students have noticed, it is possible to enter the residence halls after 7:30 p.m. without having to enter a Geneseo ID number, like in years past.

"We've had difficulty importing the system from the vendor," Haley noted. Eventually, as the bugs are worked out of the system over the next few weeks, Haley hopes that it will continue to run smoothly and efficiently.

In an effort to reduce complaints and errors, the nine residence directors have been receiving a progress note each day detailing the status of improvements.

Kim Bilinski, residence director of Ontario Hall, is enthusiastic about the new system despite the current glitches.

"I haven't had any complaints from my residents regarding the new system, which is positive," she said. "It's expected that it will be a difficult process to get everything wired."

Yolany Gonell, residence director of Monroe Hall for the past two years, believes that the new I.D. system is "a lot better than before simply because the previous one was falling apart."

Sophomore Jaclyn Juers was equally enthusiastic. "I think the new card system is great, except for its few malfunctions like doors that don't always work," she said. "But, it's definitely more convenient and easier to use, instead of having to stand at the door and swipe your card over and over again."

Plans are being made for additional security measures. If a student loses their card, "the new card will let you in and the old is automatically deactivated," Haley said.

Eventually the card system will be extended to all of the academic buildings on campus. According to Haley, "Currently, UP spends time unlocking the doors to the academic buildings in the morning. We want to free them up so that they will be there for the students."

Haley also noted that "integration of the work out center" is being considered; largely due to its highly-unreliable hand sensors. Once all the glitches are fixed, Haley said that the system will run "up to cruising speed" and will increase the level of security for everyone on campus.