Recurring swipe trouble in academic buildings

We have gotten to the point of the year now when exams and papers are starting to stack up. With those heightened midterm season responsibilities, we’re all going — or have started already — to look for those perfect study spots on campus. For some of us, it’s the first floor of Swem, where we can feel the presence of other busy bees and not feel so alone under pressure. For others, it’s anywhere with the smell of coffee.

However, for those who have a hard time finding quiet spaces where they can concentrate, academic buildings are often the first choice.

Personally, I like to search the campus for a quiet but relaxed space at all costs. I have little preference between Morton, Tucker, Tyler, Miller, Washington or wherever. If you’re like me, and you scout out the most solitary corners of campus to churn out your papers, you might have a similar problem: getting in the door.

Tribe Card Services is typically great about responding to needs when it comes to access. As an English major, I tend to veer toward Tucker, where I usually have access anyway. However, since the start of this year, I have heard several complaints about swipe access failures, especially in buildings where access should be granted as a declared major. My partner, who is a declared physics major, is currently taking 11 credits in Small. Yet, he can’t swipe into any door in the building.

Although I understand that [the ISC] is a nice building that we want to keep looking new, isn’t the point of an academic building to provide academic resources like study spaces?

In addition, I’ve also had several friends — who are either STEM majors or simply people who think the ISC is one of the best places to study — complain about overall lack of access. With all its mazes of study spaces, white boards and resources, the ISC is typically closed off in terms of swipe access unless students are conducting research there. Although I understand that this is a nice building that we want to keep looking new, isn’t the point of an academic building to provide academic resources like study spaces?

While most of these problems can be fixed with an email because we have amazing and incredibly attentive employees here at the College, that doesn’t always help in the moment. When a problem set, an assignment or a paper is due the next day and Swem tables are at a premium on every floor, where do you go to power through your workload?

For students who find themselves in a similar predicament, I have a couple pieces of advice.

First, you should check your Tribe Card access on the Tribe Card Services website, which is a great resource for a number of things, like checking your Express and your Flex spending habits. If you find that you don’t have access to buildings that you should be able to get into, then you could send an email over to that explains the problem. I believe you should also include your 930 number just to speed up the process. Also, be sure to be incredibly nice to our employees and thank them for their time.

Second, if you find yourself trying to swipe into an academic building with limited time on your hands, outside of email hours, then try the circling method. Often times a door may be unlocked at a specific location for student access until a certain time. If that doesn’t work in the moment, you might have to try somewhere else.

I’m due to send an email soon about my own swipe access into Tucker, and I plan to do that before I’m in a pinch for time. Still, despite all the issues and inconveniences, I am always grateful for the study spaces and resources already offered to students. I just wish that the ones we have were a bit more accessible.

Email Kiana Espinoza at


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