Student or Stranger, McMahon Access Is Tedious

Residential Life Director Explains Policy


Published: December 13, 2007

FCLC—McMahon Hall residents think they have it rough. But scrounging around in a bag or back pocket to find your Fordham ID and flashing it at the security guard is nothing compared to what Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) commuter students have to do to get into McMahon. The security guards stationed at the desk in McMahon make no discrimination between outside visitors and commuting FCLC students when it comes to gaining access to the dorm. Everyone who is not a resident of McMahon is required to sign in to the visitors’ log and leave their identification at the desk.

“As a commuter, I feel like I am welcomed into the dorms, but I just wish there was an easier way to be signed in,” said Amie Garrett, FCLC ’11. Some commuting FCLC students think that this policy is unfair and that signing in just to see resident friends is too long of a process.

“It’s a pain in the butt to have to sign into McMahon,” said Cat Roberts, FCLC ’10. “I always feel bad making my friends come down to sign me in. I often go into McMahon to do school work with my classmates and I feel that, at least during the day, commuters should be allowed to sign themselves in.”

The Observer spoke to Jenifer Campbell, director of Residential Life, about the policy for commuting students gaining access to McMahon.

THE OBSERVER: What is the policy for commuting FCLC students on getting into McMahon Hall?

JENIFER CAMPBELL: Any guest who is not a resident must sign in at the security desk along with the resident of McMahon who they are visiting.

THE OBSERVER: Even though they are Fordham students, why do they have to be signed in like a stranger?

JC: It’s a safety precaution. Residential Life has to know who is in the building at all times. We are responsible for every person who enters into McMahon. By signing in at the security desk, it gives us an opportunity to know who is in the building.

THE OBSERVER: Is there any way to alter the policy so that commuters could flash their FCLC ID to get into McMahon like a resident?

JC: In an ideal situation, we would have a key access swipe system. This would enable FCLC visiting students to simply swipe their ID in a system to get into McMahon. This system would enable us to acquire all the information needed about the guests and make it easier for commuting students to visit their residential friends. We are not currently looking to invest in such a system until the appropriate funds become available.

THE OBSERVER: According to the policy on accessing buildings and facilities stated on the Fordham Web site, “A resident must escort a visitor from the lobby to the resident’s room.”   But sometimes commuters are able to call up on the security phone (so the resident doesn’t have to come down and sign them in) to get into McMahon. Can you expand on this?

JC: If a visitor already possesses a guest pass from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. then the security guard can in fact call the host to gain verbal confirmation that the visitor/guest should be given admittance to McMahon. We welcome all students coming to visit McMahon. We want everyone to understand that we don’t want to ban commuters from McMahon. We simply need to log in everyone who enters the building as a safety precaution. It also has to do with the building code; it’s a certain capacity issue. If every resident had four guests at any given time, it would be completely overwhelming.