University Housing and Dining return to normal swipe-in policies at residence halls

Joelle DiPaolo

After over a year of students swiping in at all times at the front desk to access their residence halls’ lobby, the University changed its policy in early September to only require identification from midnight to 8 a.m. 

University Housing and Dining implemented the 24-hour swipe policy during the 2020-21 school year since lowered pandemic residence hall capacity allowed them to keep better track of who comes in and out of the buildings, according to UHD assistant director Juan Diego Castro. In earlier years, UHD only required students to swipe-in from midnight to 8 a.m. to access the lobby. However, all students swipe in before entering the hallways with residents’ rooms.

 Although checking students in at all times would potentially increase campus safety, UHD said enforcing a 24-hour front desk swipe policy is not feasible when residence halls are near 100% capacity. 

 “With everyone returning, I think it would do more harm if we continued the policy because we would create additional lines in a smaller place, which we’re trying to avoid,” Castro said. 

To keep the residence halls safe, Castro said students should always lock their doors. 

“(We) remind students to not allow nonresidents to tailgate behind them,” Castro said. “We are encouraging residents to swipe in and make sure that the door closes behind them so that the next person swipes in and we know who’s entering our buildings.” 

In October 2020, seven dorms were burglarized in the San Jacinto Residence Hall. UT Police Department said some of the dormitories affected were unlocked. As a result of this incident, the University promoted locking doors and enforcing the “one swipe, one entry” policy. 

Mathematics freshman Sarah Lee said the change of policy made coming in and out of the dorms more convenient but thinks requiring residents to swipe in between midnight and 8 a.m. is still necessary.

“There was this random guy walking around the floor knocking on everyone’s doors,” Lee said. “I was taking a nap, and my roommate was calling me like two times, texting me, spamming me. … She told me to lock the doors and be safe because she wasn’t in the room.” 

Undeclared freshman Sarah Campa said she is happy the 24-hour swipe policy is gone and believes it is everyone’s own responsibility to lock their doors.

“I have a bike, so going in and having to set my bike down while carrying my backpack and then continuing to go into my room was very inconvenient,”  Campa said. “I don’t think (the policy change) should be a problem, because you still have to check in to go into the hallways.”