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Education: K-12 / Education:University / Identity Management

New UDM Student ID Policy Sparks Debate on Campus

The University of Detroit-Mercy’s new policy requiring students, faculty and staff to don their UDM IDs while on campus has been implemented, and it has received mixed reviews and even less participation, according to an article from The Varsity News.

The policy, announced a week prior in an email from President Dr. Antione Garibaldi, was not received well by some UDM students, who almost immediately voiced their grievances on Facebook when asked for their thoughts on the new university-wide policy.

Chelsea Bates, a senior biology major, brought her dissent all the way to the president.

“I definitely wanted to stop it (the policy),” she says in the article. “I was upset with it on a philosophical basis … My personal belief is that when faced with a threat, you shouldn’t limit the rights of your people.”

Bates says that other campuses in the Detroit area that require students to wear IDs on campus encourage their students to remove the ID immediately once outside of the campus gates for fear that students may be targeted as potential robbery and assault victims, the article notes.

According to the Varsity News, while UDM officials aren’t suggesting that students make the ID a part of their everyday wardrobe beyond the campus gates, Bates says that students could be at risk of identity theft because they are now required to display a badge with their full name while on campus.

The idea of requiring UDM students to have their ID visible while on campus has been discussed for quite a few years, she said, but campus officials have been talking about it more since this past summer, the article says.

Tamara Batcheller, associate vice president for facilities management, wanted to clarify a misunderstanding between campus officials and students on the ID policy.

“I think sometimes people have a false sense of reality of how they (outsiders) get on campus,” she says in the article. “The legitimate people … usually drive or walk on to campus, but those who come on campus for other reasons try to find ways to get on campus without having to go past somebody.”

Though the ID policy wasn’t started in response to any specific event, Batcheller says that thefts on all UDM campuses point to the need for the policy and other security measures.

The ID lanyards can help UDM DPS identify someone who got onto campus by dodging the security gates, someone who Batcheller says wouldn’t be on campus for any legitimate reason, the article notes.

However, requiring students, faculty and staff to have their IDs visible could serve a bigger purpose.

“I don’t necessarily just say that these are ID cards,” she says. “I look at these as keys. I look at these as food in terms of going to the TDR and The Loft. I think more and more we’ll go to the ‘prox’ card … that this (card) will be all those types of things. It’s also a convenience factor to have this out.”

The cards could serve as a key to the major buildings on campus, Batcheller says in the article, as Facilities Operations has prepped quite a few doors to potentially be equipped with proxy card readers.

For now, the ID policy serves as a layer of campus safety between the gates and the interior of the buildings, where there previously wasn’t a “checkpoint,” she says.

Batcheller wants students to give the new policy a chance to work.

“The goal is to make a difference,” Batcheller says in the article. “Change is hard, and it (wearing the ID) is different, but I hope students give it a little bit of time. There is no hidden agenda here. It’s just to improve campus safety for everyone.”

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