Four years and three days ago College Council debated this very issue, and decided overwhelmingly against restricted card access. Direct input from a large number of students was the basis of the decision; we had an unusually high influx of opinions that week.

I urge the leaders of campus today to remember the debate of four years ago, links to its records are in the extended entry. I urge them also to remember that no decision that provides Security with a new tool that they feel prevents danger and damages can be easily reversed. In other words, restricted access in even some dorms this year is highly likely to lead to at least as much restriction in future years, and likely more, and even if no benefit from such restraints were to materialize the restrictions will remain in place.

We are looking at not just an inconvenience this semester but likely an enduring change in campus culture. Students may well have this forced on them someday, but they ought not to take it by choice.

I remember the lockdown debate of 2003 quite well. I took the notes of the meeting where it was aired in Council. There is no substitute for a written record; I wonder how many people realize that nearly the same debate was had exactly four years ago, almost to the day. Rare is it that Council gets through all the steps of a decision just right, yet this was one of them. The possibility of “lockdown” by security was first mentioned October 22nd, the issue was publicized and Council received overwhelming student opinion, and in the next meeting overhwhelmingly passed a letter in response.

As has been mentioned in other comments, students were overwhelmingly against. And the similarities between yesterday and today don’t end there . . .

Until I reviewed the minutes for Oct 22, 2003 I thought the 2003 lockdown idea originated with Security, but Security at least said the push came from JAs and House Coordinators. Of course this isn’t particularly meaningful until you know how many and in what forum, but the parallel to today’s situation is unmistakable (Schiazza says he’s gotten the idea from house leaders).

In 2003, Jean Thorndike, Security’s director, said she received about 200 emails in reply to the issue, and Council drafted and sent a letter opposing lockdown, passing it 25-2. Security at the time decided to “indefinitely postpone” the decision, according to the minutes for the October 29th meeting.

There is nothing wrong with social leaders expressing concerns in small, private or task-size meetings with the director of campus life. There is something wrong with going straight from that idea session to action like a campus-wide vote that will impact everyone’s life even if only a few houses vote to restrict. The logical step in between is a representative, procedure-bound, fully public, deliberative body, and a good Council will consider the examples that the past offers.

Looks like Council wants to have campus vote on whether the houses should vote. I think Council itself should decide whether to go to the house votes, but either of these is far better than the present scheduled straight-to-houses vote on Tuesday. Why does Schiazza want such a big decision made by Tuesday?

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