Today in NC State History: Policy leaves students ‘under lock and key’

June 18, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconIt seems in the summer of 1980, a university policy was under such scrutiny that the students and administration added new meaning to the term “gridlock.”

The Technician reported on this day 25 years ago that a student was surprised to find that the key to his Syme Hall room no longer worked to unlock the door. When
he inquired, he learned his lock had been changed without being afforded any prior notice.

This seems to have been residence facilities policy in the 1980s. As a requirement, a note was left on students’ doors informing them to report to Harris Hall to be issued a new key. Students were to be given a new key within 10 days of the change.

“It’s too large a thing for us to send a letter to each individual involved,” Becky Griffith, the then-secretary of residence facilities, told the Technician. “We couldn’t because we don’t know all the individuals involved. Physical Plant changes the locks at noon. They don’t know until that morning (which ones they will do) , and we don’t know which ones they change on any day.”

But the defense of the policy, which also included notions of preserving students’ security and safety, rang hollow for some of the student body.

“This was after the fact,” the student who found his Syme Hall door locked told the Techncian. “I came back and the room was already changed, locks and everything.”

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