Give UCard a rest

By By Jeffrey Jenkins

By Jeffrey Jenkins

Large portions of the U’s 29,000 student population work and live off campus and commute to the U to attend classes. The U has students currently attending from all 50 Utah counties. The U has been proactive in accommodating commuter students by providing Utah Transit Authority passes and shuttle services at various points of the U’s 1,534 acre campus. These accommodations have allowed students to get to and around campus with greater ease.

However, an issue that has been overlooked in accommodating students who commute to campus is the reliance on UCards for a myriad of student-related services.

Ryan Fletcher, the administrative manager of the UCard office, said, “While the system is not perfect, one of the strengths of the UCard is the increasing services that are offered to students.”

The U requires a UCard in hand for printing in computer labs, campus recreation in the Field House or Hyper complex and other services. The current policy regarding the UCard is stated on the U Web site: “These privileges will not be accessible without a UCard.” The Field House requires an eligible student who forgets his or her UCard to pay a $5 refundable guest fee.

The policies regarding the UCard at printing labs, recreation areas and other service locations do not facilitate the needs of a commuter-friendly campus. These policies only inhibit students from using facilities that are rightfully theirs to take advantage of. A way in which these facilities can be accessed without the possession of a UCard needs to be implemented.

“I think there should be a system where the UCard is not necessary if forgotten, a system where they can use the photo I.D.s they have on file,” said Andrew Simeona, a sophomore in business who commutes from Sandy.

“The physical card is a dinosaur system,” said Mike Manookin, a junior in physics. “If we trust a UNID to pay thousands of dollars in tuition and to add and drop classes we should trust it to print 10 cents worth of paper and attend the gym.”

The U needs to implement a contingency system that would allow students who are for whatever reason without their UCards access to the services on campus by requiring their uNID number and password, driver’s license or birth date to verify who they are. Implementing a system of this kind would be in keeping with the strengths of the UCard office and a much-welcomed step in the direction of a more commuter-friendly campus. The new system would save both commuter and non-commuter students time, gas money and the headache of not being prepared for class.

[email protected]

Jeffrey Jenkins