beauty 'n the beat

Be our guest…because you have no choice.

Bwog’s Brennon Mendez demystifies one of Housings many mystifying policies. No more swipe access for commuter students.

Some students make the rational decision to live off campus so they don’t have to deal with residence hall nuisances. Well, Housing has made the irrational decision to revoke dorm swipe access to commuters, who now have to be signed in by their hosts. The Housing Office has remained rather mum on the subject and hasn’t made any public statement regarding the policy change or the motivations behind it.

The Guide to Living states that “any student who does not have a current assignment in Columbia undergraduate housing is considered a guest.” Consequently, commuter students’ affiliation with Columbia has no bearing on their dorm access and students living in nearby non-Columbia owned buildings, such as Beta and the Bayit, are also subject to the same policy.

Some speculate that Housing’s move is an attempt to prevent students who are not paying for campus housing from using the dorm facilities, such as treadmills, printers, and lactation rooms. But the mandatory Student Life fee includes treadmill access in Dodge, and a student’s printing location is completely irrelevant to their printing quotas. In addition, dorm lounges are often used for club meetings, study groups, and other social gatherings. Shouldn’t we all have equal access to enjoy Stressbuster’s massages?

Kristina Makarian, a commuting student, finds the policy “absolutely absurd”, stating that commuters “already miss out on most social events because our commutes are long and require us to leave campus early”. Makarian saw this issue as yet another instance in which the administration’s alleged goals don’t line up with current policy: “For a school that organizes so many events for commuters, banning us from the dorms seems very unfair and hypocritical.”

But what rhymes with hypocrisy? Columbia bureaucracy!

Anthropomorphism via Wikimedia Commons