New security policies to be piloted throughout summer

By Managing Editor

Students, faculty and staff will now have to show their Columbia IDs to gain access to the library in the 624 S. Michigan Building with other buildings soon to follow as part of an ongoing pilot program for ID checkpoints and access control at the college, according to Ron Sodini, associate vice president of Campus Safety & Security.

The new ID checkpoint, which went into effect June 1, follow similar security measures to those that have been implemented at the Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Ave.; the 11th Street Campus Building, 72 E. 11th St.; the Media Production Center, 1600 S. State St. and the Theatre/Film Annex Building, 1415 S. Wabash Ave., as reported March 28 by The Chronicle. 

Columbia’s 1006 S. Michigan Ave. Building, which is managed by GNP Realty Partners, will also be undergoing similar changes to its security system during the summer with a new electronic access system that will require students, faculty and staff to have their IDs preprogrammed to scan into the building, according to Sodini. 

This policy was due to be implemented on June 1 as well, but has had some temporarily delays, according to a June 6 email from Sodini. 

“The [building owner] is still working on some technical issues with the new equipment, and the startup will be delayed a few days,” Sodini said in the email.

Previously the building, which houses Columbia’s professional and commercial lighting studios, had no significant security system, according to Ross Sawyers, associate chair of the Photography Department.

“Students basically had open access to the building,” Sawyers said. 

Under the new policy, students who have taken or are currently taking a lighting course will have access, he said. The policy will be communicated to students via social media and Moodle throughout summer and into the Fall 2016 Semester, Sawyers added.

GNP Realty Partners was not made available for comment on the new security system as of press time.

The policy for the 624 S. Michigan Ave. Building is being received positively by the library because people from outside the Columbia community were using the library’s resources, said Library Dean Jan Chindlund. 

“When we have surveyed students, we have gotten comments back that students have noticed that sometimes people using the computers do not appear to be other students,” Chindlund said. “We have purchased those computers for student use. [This new policy will make it] easier for the librarians to ensure that the people using our technology are actually people who have paid for the technology.”

Students, faculty and staff that use other facilities that have piloted the ID checkpoint have easily adjusted, Chindlund added. 

“We think that students are going to get more and more used to carrying their card with them and having it accessible,” Chindlund said. 

Members of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois have access to each other’s libraries so members of CARLI will also have access to the college’s library with an ID card from their respective schools, according to Chindlund. 

Wider access to the library will also be available during tours, orientation and open house days, Chindlund said. 

“We are very interested in showing our stellar library to prospective students, prospective parents, prospective employees and prospective donors,” Chindlund said. 

Throughout the summer, the Office of Campus Safety & Security will continue to work with the library and the 1006 S. Michigan Ave. Building owners to make sure these new policies are as efficient as possible when students return in September, Sodini said. 

“We want to be measured in how we do things,” Sodini said. “We want to be deliberate, so that is why we are taking steps instead of a widespread implementation.”