By Isaac Price | News Staff Writer
Last month, Whitworth changed the lock schedule for various buildings across campus, andsom Whitworth ID badges are now required to scan in to many buildings which were previously unlocked for many hours of the day. This change stems from a project last summer that brought together security, building owners, and other areas of campus to enhance safety around campus.
Chief Information Officer Kenneth Brown, who describes part of his role as “making sure the systems do what they need to do, and making sure they’re altered when it’s necessary and when security requires,” helped oversee this change.
Over the summer, security began a project to “coordinate and synchronize building open and close times to be more in line with each other to secure them from a security standpoint, so that when people shouldn’t be in a building they’re not there,” Brown said.
Brown noted that security concerns have ramped up recently with an increase in the local population of unhoused people and sightings of people not affiliated with Whitworth on the premises late at night.
“Security wanted to make sure the buildings were open to the public when it was most appropriate to, and allow them to enter the buildings when it’s locked but still accessible by keycards,” Brown continued.
To do this, security collaborated with the building owners, building managers, and other decision-makers across campus to revise the lock schedule according to each building’s unique needs, while keeping the schedule synchronized for security’s needs. Now, some buildings that were previously open to anyone until 10pm or later close as early as 6:30pm, at which point a keycard becomes required for entry until the final close time. Similarly, some buildings now have a later public opening time than they did in the past, and a keycard is needed to get in before those times.
These changes took some time to coordinate effectively.
“Those schedules were not perfect, and in the beginning they weren’t able to start their class schedule even with the cards. [Now], Weyerhauser’s lock schedule is 7am unlocked with keycard, [the] door is unlocked completely at 7:30am, [and it] locks again at 6:30pm but [students] can get into it with a card until 9:30pm,” Brown said.
Robinson is keycard accessible until 10pm, while the library continues to admit students only by keycard after 5pm due to limited staffing. Notably, the schedule for residence halls remains unchanged, and continues to be overseen by Alan Jacobs, associate director for housing.
With these schedule changes, one important note is that the lock schedule can be amended for specific events by request.
“There is a process for people to request a change to the lock schedule for a specific event or day that something is happening; that request goes to security who is supposed to follow up with that although it hasn’t been as perfect as they wished,” said Brown.
Some members of Whitworth’s community have been caught off guard by these changes, including faculty. Messages came through Whitworth’s normal channels, Brown said, but reaching everyone can be a challenge.
“Lots of people were talked to but I would agree that we somehow missed talking to all the faculty because some people appear to be caught off guard,” Brown said.
To get into Weyerhaeuser, Robinson, or another building late at night around campus, students may now need to carry their ID, but this will serve campus in an important way.
“Buildings can be locked and unlocked by keys and by keycards, can be changed by security and [we] want to keep people in the building safe when it’s being lightly used. . . . We’re all supposed to carry our keycard to ensure that we belong at Whitworth,” Brown said.