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HCC students, faculty to get new IDs to enhance security

December 22, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

In a move to improve security and services at Hagerstown Community College, the Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to spend $17,097 on a new identification card system.

The new computer system replaces one that the college has used since 1979. Director of Student Services Dave Cole said the college's approximately 3,000 students, staff and faculty will be using the cards by next fall.

Students now use laminated photographic ID cards with stuck-on bar codes to check out library books, but they are not required to carry them.

The new system may make card carrying mandatory.

The new computer-generated cards will have printed photos and bar codes as well as magnetic strips.

Board President William J. Reuter was skeptical, saying the new card didn't sound like an improvement.

"The new card doesn't do anything different from the old card, so why should we spend $18,000?" he asked.

Cole said the cards offer additional security. With other equipment and upgrades, they can be used in a variety of ways. Students could use the cards to open a lock or buy items at the bookstore or cafeteria, he said.

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Two years ago, a computer resources steering committee studying the use of computers on campus found people who were not students used college computers, according to Cole. A subcommittee was formed to deal with that issue.

As co-chairman, Cole brought a recommendation to buy a printer, computer, software, a camera and blank cards from Diebold. The vendor submitted the most competitive bid and had provided solid services to HCC before, according to Cole.

The $17,097 price includes installation and warranty. Cole said the college spends $2,000 a year on its outdated system, and the new one will be more economical.

Dean of Student Services Carl J. Galligan passed around his old ID card, which he has used since 1979. Looking at the photograph, Reuter joked, "You look like Buddy Holly. I can't imagine who that is."

Dean of Instruction Michael H. Parsons said the old cards deteriorate quickly.

"Stick-on bar codes are not very secure," said Trustee Wayne Alter Jr.

Trustee James Latimer suggested installing a card-operated lock on the computer lab. The lock would prevent people who are not students from using it.

Cole said the new cards can be linked to a database of students. Currently, ID cards cannot be used to tell if a person is registered. Using computers, the new cards with magnetic strips will help the college keep better track of students.

"Security is going to be a major issue," said HCC President Norman Shea.

"We want all the students to have IDs is what we're saying," said Cole.

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