Former students gain access to residence halls

"Three former Johnson Hall resident mentors still have access to their former residence hall, despite no longer living in the building or being employed by Residence Life and Housing.

"The Oswegonian discovered the ex-resident mentors could still gain entry to Johnson Hall via their student identification cards. Students must swipe their IDs on a scan pad connected to a card access system before they enter any residence hall.

"According to Rick Kolenda, director of Res. Life, someone who is no longer a student at Oswego State should not still be able to enter their former residence hall using their school ID.

""Anyone who has left school for whatever reason… should have their ID deactivated," Kolenda said.

"However, this is not the case. Chris Nowak, who graduated from Oswego State in May, visited campus in late October to see friends and discovered his ID still worked on the Johnson Hall scan pad.

""I got in the front door of Johnson," Nowak said. "I just wanted to try and see if it worked, and it did."

"Nowak lived in Johnson Hall as a resident during the 2006-07 academic year and was then a resident mentor in the building for the following three years.

"Two other former resident mentors also found their IDs still gained them access to Johnson Hall, but they declined to be interviewed.

"Res. Life utilizes Millennium, a card access system, to oversee student access to residence halls. Kolenda said he has never been made aware of students keeping ID access to their former residence halls long after they should.

""If somebody is saying that’s happening, then that’s cause for me to go back and check with the folks that monitor that," Kolenda said.

"Campus Technology Services assists Res. Life in uploading data into Millennium and is also responsible for maintaining the system. At the end of each semester, every student’s access is supposed to be removed, and then be reloaded into the system as they register for classes for the next semester.

"Campus Technology Services assists Residence Life and Housing in uploading data into Millennium and is also responsible for maintaining the system. At the end of each semester, every student’s access is supposed to be removed, and then be reloaded into the system as they register for classes for the next semester. Students who leave school or have graduated and do not register for classes are not loaded back into the system.

""I think that the system runs well overall," Kolenda said. "We are grateful that this has come to our attention and we will check [these issues] out to make sure that the systems are running the way they are supposed to be running."

"Until October, if a student left Oswego State during the semester, Residence Life and Housing would manually remove the student’s access from the system. It was a process rife with possibilities for human error, and shuffling paperwork between offices slowed the process down. If a student simply left school and did not tell anyone, it would take longer for that person’s access to be removed. Moves from building to building also had to be changed manually as well.

"Changes have been made to automate the laborious process. New software was installed this fall that links Millennium to Banner, the college’s data system, and Adirondack, the housing management system. The result is that when a student leaves school or changes residence halls, the software automatically updates Banner and Adirondack. Those systems in turn update Millennium to change ID card access accordingly.

"The new software that works with Millennium is far more sophisticated than the college’s original system, Kolenda said.

"Prior to widespread use of ID card access five years ago, every student carried an additional front door key to access the front doors at night. Problems stemmed from students losing their keys and locks needing to be changed frequently.

"With the current system, lost IDs can be deactivated and Residence Life and Housing can check when people come and go in to or out of the residence halls, in case there is an issue. In addition to being more efficient, the current system is also less cumbersome for students who now only need their ID to get around.

""I think the system has worked well for us since its inception," Kolenda said. "We’ve had some software issues over time, but those have been minimal and we’ve corrected those."

"Another area the current ID system has limitations in is physical security. Kolenda said he plans to review the process, but some of the responsibility is ultimately with students.

""Security is really only as good as the residents," Kolenda said. "If you use your card to get in and you allow five people to walk in behind you that you don’t know, that’s always an issue."