If you want to type, you’ll have to swipe

Students will now need to swipe their ID cards to access any computer lab on campus, as the last several labs staffed by student personnel will start using roving staff.

According to Patricia Pasinski, assistant director of User Support Services, the change is not because of budget cuts, but rather the growing number of students who don’t need technical support on a regular basis.

“In the past, student workers were positioned in the labs to help students with computer questions,” Pasinski said. “We discovered a few years ago that our students are very well versed with technology and rarely needed that assistance.”

According to Pasinski, the 24-hour swipe-in also helps prevent theft. In addition to preventing non-College students from entering the labs, swipe-in records can be checked in the event that equipment is stolen, giving a better idea of who was using the computer labs at that time.

To this end, Pasinski urged students to leave the doors closed after swiping in.

“If you prop a door open after you swipe in, you could be contributing to theft in the labs,” Pasinski said.

The reduction of student staff began in Fall 2002. Originally, each lab had its own staff, but Information Technology condensed these workers into a single group that traveled between all labs on campus. This change allowed the College to use staff more efficiently and to keep the labs open longer, Pasinski said.

Until this year, the Music, Bliss and Holman computer labs retained constant staff, but have started using roving staff now that swipe-ins are required.

According to Pasinski, while students in these positions were not rehired for this semester, they were directed to open Information Technology positions they could apply for.

Students will still be able to swipe in to all computer labs with their cards, regardless of major or status. The only restriction comes when a class is being held in a lab. Currently the hours of every lab on campus can be found on the Information Technology Web site, and class schedules are posted on the door of the labs in which classes are held.

The new program will not reduce Information Technology’s ability to respond to technical problems, according to Pasinski. The roving staff has always handled problems that go unreported, and will continue to do so, along with some full-time personnel. In the case of a serious problem, students can still contact the help desk for aid.

The wandering staff will still come in at night to close labs, although Pasinksi said they are working on an automatic shutdown method to further free up the staff’s time and increase the amount of time labs are available for students.

“We hope through this initiative that we are giving our students the lab access that they need,” Pasinski said.