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Doors go digital

$40,000 worth of stolen school property has prompted Public
Safety officials to take new security measures.

In addition to new cameras being installed and all master keys
being taken out of circulation, Mills is making the first moves
towards implementing card access all over campus. The initial step
is most likely in your back pocket, as the new Mills ID cards will
eventually be used to swipe through in order to get into various

Starting in late June, there was a two to three week rash of
thefts that provoked these changes. According to King, very
specific items were stolen, including top-of-the-line video editing
and dubbing tools.

“I always thought that there wasn’t enough security for the
value of those tools,” said Elise Baldwin, a Mills graduate
student, who has been the TA for the video production classes the
past couple of years. “In theory, [the new card-access system]
should be more efficient…I’m surprised there’s not a computerized
or magnetic system now.”

With this new system, there will be a magnetic sensor on certain
buildings that will alert security if doors are left ajar,
preventing intruders.

“Residence halls will be the first to be re-keyed,” said

“I feel safe enough,” said Emily Harry, a freshwoman living in
Olney Hall. “I don’t feel like anyone would physically harm me, but
I think it’s important that I keep my door locked. I’ve definitely
seen suspicious people walking around in our hall and maybe this
new system will stop that.”

The new “hotel-like” access to campus buildings and facilities
seems to be going over well in the Mills community, primarily
because of the convenience of using one card for meals, library
checkout, identification and access to the dorms. But according to
King, there are still kinks to work out.

Currently, countless locks have been changed and new keys made
as a result of the thefts. The campus is teeming with people
frustrated that keys are not working or that there are too many to
keep track of. Others realize the necessity. “I don’t really mind,”
said freshwoman Sara Wintz. “I feel safer on campus than off, so I
think security does everything they can in a city like this to
protect us.”

As far as the robberies go, security officials, together with
the Oakland Police Department, have nearly cornered the culprit.
King said that he feels very confident that he knows who the thief
is. There was a small group of people on campus over the summer
working in broadcast journalism with the exact tools that were
stolen. It’s just a matter of getting the evidence to prove it, he

In the meantime, Public Safety will audit every key-holder on
campus so that they are aware of who has access to what. Because
the thefts were clearly based in the Mills community, said King, it
is not simply enough to monitor visitors more closely.

This is why keys are being called back and the card idea
released. For some this does not make sense.

“With how often people lose their ID cards, I’d be worried about
who on campus gets a hold of the cards,” said freshwoman Andrea

“It seems that the student population is split down the middle
as far the convenience of the card-access system, but safety is the
primary concern,” said King.

The sanctuary that Mills has always been will be reinforced with
the card access system, and although problems will inevitably
arise, we are forced to modify our everyday routines to fit our
surroundings. “We just have to adjust with the times,” said