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Door lock schedule embraced after Lewiston shooting

January 26, 2024

Joy Wang
LOCKED OUT: A OneCard lock is set to unlocked at Hawthorne Longfellow (H-L) Library. Under the new lock schedule, H-L and other public-facing buildings will now only be accessible to people with a OneCard after 5 p.m.

On Monday, the College adopted a new exterior door lock schedule that requires OneCard  access for academic buildings during normal business hours.

Though the College had been considering this new door lock schedule for over a year, the schedule was primarily adopted as security protocol in response to the mass shootings in Lewiston on October 25.

According to Executive Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols, the College started to consider this new door lock schedule after the Covid-19 pandemic, during which the College reduced building access and required OneCard access to enter certain campus buildings to decrease potential exposure risk from visitors.

The current lock schedule—from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.—requires a card tap or swipe to access all academic buildings. But libraries, dining facilities, athletic venues, museums and other select public-facing buildings remain unlocked during normal business hours.

“We have reduced the number of hours of open access to many of these facilities,” Nichols wrote in an email to the Orient. “It is also important to note that every one of these spaces would be immediately locked in an emergency.”

Nichols wrote that student feedback has been largely supportive, but there is concern over the  remaining buildings that require manual lock and key entry. The College now considers these buildings priority sites to install OneCard access systems. Another concern raised was students or employees forgetting their OneCards and finding themselves unable to access some academic buildings.

“Students and employees too often forget their OneCards and request assistance from security and others to get into buildings and rooms,” Nichols wrote. “We hope this change will encourage people to always have their OneCard with them.”

Katie Rea ’25 said the new door lock schedule has not been a difficult adjustment given its similarity to the door lock schedule she experienced as a first-year following the height of the pandemic.

“This reminds me of Covid schedules. During and after Covid, when masks were still mandated, all the doors were locked. It feels like we’re back at that a little bit,” Rea said. “After Covid, my sophomore year, my class went to tap their OneCards to different buildings around campus because it became so much of a habit. It feels like we are falling back into that habit, but [the sophomore and first-year classes] never had to do that.”

While Rea feels safer with the new door lock schedule, she noted that there are buildings on campus, such as Hawthorne-Longfellow (H-L) Library and Smith Union, that remain unlocked despite being often crowded.

“Especially with the Vegas shooting where a professor was targeted, it makes sense to lock the academic buildings,” Rea said. “But I also think that [Smith Union] is such a big area and such a hub … so I feel like it would be interesting to lock all the doors. But it would obviously impact the visitors, so it is just a weird in-between.”

Declan O’Connell ’27 believes it makes sense to keep buildings such as H-L and Smith Union unlocked, since Brunswick residents often visit these spaces.

“We live so close to Brunswick and people that walk through this campus are very used to interacting with this campus. These buildings are already such public gathering points, so it makes sense to me that these buildings remain open,” O’Connell said.

As a first-year, O’Connell said it was not hard adjusting to the new door lock schedule. He feels it provides a sense of security.

“I haven’t even noticed that the schedule has changed, since the dining halls are still unlocked. It takes like half a second to pull out my OneCard and do it, it’s a mindless action anyways,” O’Connell said. “It’s no real trouble to students, and it does increase security, so we might as well do it…. It seems like a step in the right direction to make sure all academic buildings are secure.”


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