On April 3, the ASUC Student Union implemented a new policy requiring campus affiliates to present Cal 1 Cards to enter student union buildings after 5 p.m.
According to Adam Ratliff, campus spokesperson for the Division of Student Affairs, and Chair of the Student Union Board of Directors Henry Isselbacher, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union and Eshleman Hall will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. According to Isselbacher, the student union will be open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Isselbacher said students and any accompanying guests after 5 p.m. are required to scan their Cal 1 Cards at designated entrances, located at Lower Sproul Plaza into Eshleman Hall and the MLK Upper Sproul Plaza entrance, by Goldie’s Coffee Shop.
“We changed access to the ASUC Student Union to create a true ‘living room’ experience for students in the evening,” Ratliff said in an email. “Our goal is to promote a safe, warm, and casual environment for students to relax and socialize.”
An uptick in reports of harassment, uncomfortable behavior and intimidation by non-campus affiliates in the buildings prompted discussions at recent student union board meetings to create a comfortable, home-like atmosphere for students.
Planning for the pilot program began in February; however, issues related to campus and student safety had been identified in the fall.
The idea and framework for the pilot program was finalized in the student union’s last meeting before spring break, according to Isselbacher.
According to Saruul Amarbayar, ASUC Chief Technology Officer, while both the student union and ASUC work together, they are separate entities. While she was not involved in the implementation of the Cal 1 Card scanners in the buildings, Amarbayar first learned of the new policies just a few days ago when she tried to enter Eshleman Hall after 5 p.m.
Speaking from her experience as a receptionist in Eshleman, she recognized that complaints regarding student comfortability and security have been going on since the hybrid and in-person campus environment returned following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I see where the student union is coming from as a student who worked as a desk receptionist in Eshleman,” Amarbayar said. “I see the perspective of student safety, but also accessibility issues.”
Isselbacher added that the student union board has been working with campus access control and facility services to reprogram key card readers on the outside of the buildings. However, difficulties in reprogramming the readers has resulted in the need for building staff to sit at an entrance terminal and scan cards there.
He acknowledged that the pilot program has not been smooth sailing from its beginning and communication could have been better, rather than only announcing the change via updates in its newsletter and signage on building entrances.
However, Isselbacher noted that his program is being made by and for students and student safety.
“(This policy) is in light of recent campus WarnMes and an air of people not feeling comfortable,” Isselbacher said. “While it is a pilot program, we’re trying our best to work out the kinks and are very grateful for the feedback and encourage folks to speak up about their likes and dislikes with this policy.”