Locked out and broke

Last week, Housing and Dining Services announced that it would be charging students for lock-outs by increasing $5 increments after an initial free first lockout, and the price of replacement ID cards from $15 to $25.

Because Housing and Dining officials didn’t specify why the change was necessary in their memo to students, it seems that they would use the money to make up the costs of replacing lost keys and cards. Their website, however, states that all funding will be allocated to Safewalk, a program that provides late-night escorts to walk students to residence halls from places on campus.

Safewalk is, admittedly, a good program to have, but it is unfair to slap increasingly severe punishments on students for accidentally locking themselves out. When we lose our IDs or get locked out, we are already inconvenienced by the loss of our meal plans, bank accounts, ID numbers, and access to campus facilities — we don’t need the added burden of increasingly large fines.

In addition, Safewalk does not seem the best use of the funds accrued from this penalty. If Housing and Dining insists on fining students, the money could be used more effectively to increase the number of emergency call boxes (which offer 24-hour safety), add lighting to dark areas of campus, or make facility improvements to residential buildings.

Perhaps more directly, the money could feed into improving the printing of cards. Currently, the faces of ID cards wear off quickly. Higher-quality printing could save some money in the long run by decreasing the number of replacement cards the university provides to students for free.

Safewalk only operates between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and is only really useful for students who live on campus. If we’re going to be charged more for lockouts and ID cards, the money should be used for improvements that affect the entire campus community.