Activism on Campus: Action Taken Against Access Control

This year a new policy regarding student access to residential buildings was introduced, and MC students are less than happy about it. This new policy, called “Access Control,” strips residents of their ability to scan or swipe into any residential building they do not live in, and also completely strips commuters of all access to any residential building. “Day guests” must now be signed in at the front security desk of the building, and are required to leave their ID, phone number, and the room number they will be visiting. Residents of the building are allowed two day guests at a time, and their guest is only allowed to stay until midnight. If they stay past midnight, the RA on duty will go to the room the guest is checked into and have them leave. This differs greatly from the policy that was in place last year, which allowed students to scan or swipe in to any residential building before midnight, and even after midnight they could just be signed in by a student of their same gender. 

This new policy has been the talk of the campus since move in day, and students are starting to take action. Isabel Quinones, a senior Childhood and Special Education student and former VP of Residential Affairs, and Ryan Kwiecinski, a senior Marketing major with a Digital Media Art minor and Executive Vice President of Student Government, have authored a petition to tell Residence Life that this new policy is unacceptable, and even more, that the mode in which this policy was put in place is not standard to Manhattan College procedures, and implores them to reconsider how Access Control will negatively impact campus culture and commuter inclusion. 

I conducted an interview with Ryan and Isabel about the petition, and here is some of what they said. 

 

Nobody at all knows why this policy was put in place-- Residence Life has not offered any answers regarding the need for this change. When Isabel was VP of Residential Affairs, Residence Life discussed this plan with her and another student of Student Government, but she says she was never given a formal start date and since the policy did not get a lot of attention from students, that it would most likely be implemented next year to allow for a feedback period. She also voiced her concerns on this policy when it was originally presented to her. 

Ryan and Isabel said their motivation for writing this petition is to open the conversation and set the precedent that new policies must be set by following the correct steps and rules. In the case of the Access Control policy, it was never presented to the Manhattan College Senate-- the governing body of the college that is responsible for listening to proposed ideas and then taking the action they deem is appropriate. 

The petition was sent around beginning on August 28th at 3:00 PM, and in just over 24 hours the petition received nearly 600 signatures. Ryan and Isabel said they expected this petition to get a lot of attention from the student body since they “noticed a lot of upset, disappointed and frustrated students,” but they were not expecting the signatures to roll in as quickly as they did. 

 

Ryan and Isabel are hoping that this petition will inspire Residence Life to realize how upset the student body is about this rule, and to inspire all areas of the college to follow the correct procedures when proposing new policies from now on. 

The fight is very obviously not over, and there is so much you can do! If you don’t like Access Control, you can sign Ryan and Isabel’s petition, and also follow the Instagram page @mc.access.exclusion for more information on how you can get involved. Also make sure to come out to the Student Government meeting September 4th at 12 PM in Kelly Commons. You are also encouraged to respectfully and peacefully voice your opinion via email or in person to the appropriate administrators. 

 

Get involved, MC!