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The University News

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

Technical glitch allowed all student ID cards to open rooms on a Spring Hall floor

A+technical+glitch+compromosied+the+safety+of+residents+living+on+Spring+Halls+fourth+floor.
Ulaa Kuziez
A technical glitch compromosied the safety of residents living on Spring Hall’s fourth floor.

Keycard scanners malfunctioned in Spring Hall and temporarily compromised the safety of residents living on the hall’s fourth floor. 

The technical malfunction allowed any student ID card to open and access dorm rooms on that floor. The keycard scanners were powered off on Jan. 26, but the glitch put residents at risk for at least two nights. 

Students questioned why the scanners were not immediately turned off. Others said the lack of communication from Housing and Residential Life and the Division of Facilities Services was frustrating.

 “None of us have been sleeping well since we found out,” a sophomore student on the fourth floor said while the issue was still ongoing. “I sleep with pepper spray. There is not much else I can do.” 

As a makeshift safety measure, the sophomore resident said she placed a crinkly takeout bag by her door to alert her if someone entered. 

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Residents said they were not advised on how to protect their dorms. The Department of Public Safety officer was posted to the floor, according to DPS assistant vice president Melinda Heikkinen. However, residents said the officer, who arrived on Jan. 26, should have been posted sooner, when the issue was first reported.

Junior Eleanor Oxford, who lives on Spring’s fourth floor, said she was shocked when she first found out from her friend that anyone could access her single room. 

“I thought ‘Oh wow, people can enter whenever they want,’” Oxford said. “There is a level of fear that I [had]. I tried not to think about it, but it’s scary.”

A week before noticing the glitch, residents told the University News some scanners in the hallway and inside their dorm rooms were beeping “obnoxiously” in one section of the fourth-floor hallway. Several residents reported the beeping to their RA’s and put in work orders. 

The beeping stopped 24 hours later on the evening of Jan. 17, but residents said they have yet to hear back from the Division of Facilities Services about this issue. 

Residents in several dorms had been using physical keys because card scanners were shut off last semester after a student hacker compromised their security. So when on Jan. 23, Spring Hall residents noticed their key card scanners working again, many were excited to use their ID cards. 

“We don’t want to worry about having to drag our keys around,” said the sophomore resident, who wished to stay anonymous due to safety concerns. 

The next day on Jan. 24, residents were surprised to find out that their dorms could be opened by any key card. One of the fourth-floor resident’s friends, who lives in a different hall, scanned and entered her friend’s dorm. 

Residents then immediately told their RA. They said they demonstrated the issue by using their own ID cards to scan and open the RA’s room. 

After reporting, residents said they received little communication or no explanation for the issue from their RAs or other staff. In the meantime, they said they kept the issue to themselves so it would not spread and compromise their safety.  

“I was surprised that it took [two days] for the problem to be fixed but it didn’t bother me as much as I did to not get any type of response or communication of the event after the fact,” another sophomore and fourth-floor resident said. She added that she wants to know if there is any risk of this happening again. 

The University News reached out to Spring’s fourth floor RAs, who said they could not comment on the situation. 

Greg Pfeffer, the housing and residential life administrative assistant, said HRL was aware of the issue and worked to fix it as quickly as possible. He did not comment on the lack of communication between HRL and the affected residents. 

“It would have been nice to have received a notification or update about the incident while it was going on because I only heard about it through friends, and if I hadn’t, I would not have had any knowledge that I needed to be cautious,” the sophomore resident said. 

Mariya Yasinovska contributed to this reporting. 

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About the Contributor
Ulaa Kuziez, News Editor
Ulaa Kuziez is a junior studying Journalism and Media at Saint Louis University. She enjoys storytelling and believes in uplifting student perspectives. In her free time, you can find her walking in local parks or drinking coffee. Email her at [email protected] with any news tips!
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