Not The Key To Student-Staff Relations

, , , , | Learning | December 1, 2020

I’ve just returned from a trip out of state to my apartment-style dorm complex. The building has six floors and I’m at the very top, so I direct my ride to drop me off at that entrance. They pull away, and as I go to enter the building, I realize my key card is not working at all. I give the resident desk a call.

Me: “Hi. I’m up on the sixth floor and the door isn’t working for some reason.”

Staff: “Oh, have you gotten your card reprogrammed?”

Me: “I don’t think so? It worked just a couple of weeks ago.”

Staff: “Oh, come on down and we’ll reprogram your card. We decommission all the resident cards once a year. For safety!”

Me: “Uh… sure, but I’ve been dropped off here with all my luggage and there’s no elevator access.”

Staff: “We can’t go up there. You should’ve thought of that.”

So, down I walk with my luggage, circling around through the entire car park since it has no stairs or elevators, around to the front of the building, where they reprogram my card and send me on my way. At least I can take the elevator up.

When I get inside my apartment with my now working key card, I realize my bedroom door is locked from the inside. This is the one door that requires a key instead of a card. Frustrated, I call the staff again.

Me: “Hi again. My bedroom door is locked for some reason, also?”

Staff: “Oh, are you locked out? Why not use your key?”

Me: “The key… was in my room. My roommates and I are all friends and we don’t lock our bedroom doors.”

Staff: “Oh, so you locked yourself out?”

Me: *Sigh* “No, I did not lock it before I left. But now it is locked.”

Staff: “Yeah, we did room checks and locked all the rooms afterward. To keep them safe. If you come downstairs, we can process the lockout charge and then let you in.”

Me: *Incredulous pause* “Excuse me. You want to charge me for locking me out of my room? And you can’t come upstairs?”

Staff: “Well, it’s really your responsibility to not get locked out. You’re adults now. And no, you have to request and pay in person at the desk down here.”

Me: *Another pause* “It is four am. I have dragged my luggage down six floors because you deprogrammed my card and sent no notice about it. Now you’re telling me you did a full room check, also with no notice, and locked me out, and you are trying to get me to go back down six floors to pay you for locking me out? I refuse and, honestly, I’m about to explode just talking to you about it.”

Staff: “Um… Well, I can waive the fee just this once. But you need to be more careful! You’re adults now! It’s your responsibility to keep your key on you and be responsible. It’s standard policy to lock rooms and deprogram cards every once in a while.”

Me: “I’ve lived here for two years and you’ve never done this before, but fine. I guess I’ll keep my key on me in case you guys decide to lock me out again.”

She came upstairs and finally let me in where I could blissfully sleep after my red-eye flight. Weird how there was never another instance of this apparently “standard policy.” I’m still not sure how mass deprogramming every single student card with no notice was supposed to be for safety.

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