Evan Robinson-Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer
Residential Services began charging students $10 dollars for each temp card issuance after their first lockout at the beginning of the academic year, sparking student outcry against what many consider an unnecessary cost.
“Charging for lockouts is a common practice among many of our peer institutions,” Residential Services wrote in an email to The Daily. “The $10 fee for each lockout beyond the first, which is complimentary, is in line or lower than these peers.”
The lockout fee is a new policy for the 2019-2020 academic year. Students who do not return their temp cards within 24 hours of checkout will also have $25 fee automatically charged to their student cards. The fee will not be refunded if the temp card is returned.
Rather than emailing the announcement to students living on campus, Residential Services provided students with a handout when they moved in. The email, from Assistant Director of Operation and Services Jenny Douglas and Desk and Access Manager Alejandro Domínguez, said the office aimed to provide incentives for students to use temporary cards only as needed, improving “safety and security.”
Students who were unaware of the fee — some of whom are low-income — have taken to Twitter to express their thoughts after hearing about the policy change.
Medill junior Maia Brown said the changes felt “cruel and punitive.” She said she didn’t understand why the office is demanding a fee for a student attempting to access rooms that they have already paid for.
“It’s entirely for profit,” Brown said. “I feel like it’s just another way to screw low-income students on campus.”
Brown added that though the University frames the $10 fee as an insubstantial one, costs can quickly incur throughout the quarter — and for low-income students, the financial burden can be especially heavy.
Douglas and Domínguez said in their email that Residential Services is “committed to working with students on an individual basis” when it comes to waiving fees for low-income students but did not share any specific policy to do so.
Simona Fine said that she has been locked out multiple times since she moved into her single this year. The McCormick sophomore said when she leaves her Wildcard in the room, there’s no one else she can call, and the only option is to visit a neighborhood desk and pay $10 to obtain a temporary card.
“If you get locked out once a week, that’s $100 per quarter,” Fine said. “While I get that it’s annoying for Res Services to constantly be giving out and collecting temp cards, I think its consequences on students are worse.”
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