Matthew Smedberg | Tuesday, December 2, 2003
It has now been two weeks since the University locked me out of my own house for a day and a half.
Well, that is not completely fair. They left one door, not quite unlocked, but breachable with a swipe of a card – the one door they judged to be the one most traveled through; but they prohibited all entrance through my house’s many other doors.
They did this without consulting me or any other person who lived there. They did this to my house and 26 other houses on campus.
They did this “for my safety” – to prevent anyone whom I do or do not know from coming in and stealing my things – never mind that hundreds of alumni, visitors and random well-wishers flock through my house despite all the “security” measures, let in by me and my pack of ever-trusting and generous housemates.
The Office of Residence Life and Housing deemed it intolerable that dorms were accessible to anyone wielding the ID card of a resident, and his or her birth date, through any of that dorm’s doors. No, the only entrants should be one wielding such a card and such a birth date, through one door to be determined from on high. Is this not a little absurd? A little – dare I say it – overprotective?
Frankly, I am tired of Reslife putting all these restrictions on when and how I can and cannot go into my own house. (I need not remind my reader that I, being a guy, have it far easier in this regard than my companions of the fairer sex.)
There is a lock on my door. That lock has an induplicable key which opens it, and a solid wood door between the room and the hallway: If I wish to cordon off my space, I am perfectly capable of doing so.
Why, then, spin an extra layer of false “security” around the dorm, in the process making life unseasonably difficult for those of us who do, in fact, have every right to come and go from it?
While visiting a female friend last year, I saw this slogan plastered across the wall of her hallway: “Would you leave your home unlocked? Then don’t leave your room unlocked either!” I was surprised, because I would indeed leave my home unlocked, as does the rest of my family.
It is more important to me that I send a message of welcome and hospitality, whether I act as part of my biological family or my University family, than that I give rise to paranoia and “trust not thy neighbor as thyself.”
It says a lot to me that the University will accept any donations from alumni and friends, but will no longer welcome them in, even to the very buildings which they called home in years past. I, for one, say “Roll out the welcome mat: Let them all come in!”