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The Blue & Gray Press | October 22, 2017

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Honor Code must be taken seriously

Honor Code must be taken seriously

By JONATHON MYERS

In less than two minutes, I can get inside of any residence hall on campus. I’m not an RA. I’m not on the security team. I’m not even a resident. I’m a commuter student. As a commuter student, my EagleOne does basically nothing for me. It can’t unlock any doors on campus. Thankfully I don’t even need it. I don’t get in with my card, or by breaking a window, or tunneling underground. All I have to do to get inside is stand by the door and wait for some passerby to let me in.

Now, it’s not like I’m doing this for sinister reasons. Sometimes I don’t want to wait out in the rain for my friends inside to come down and let me in. And it’s not like anyone has a reason to be afraid of me. I’m a total chicken nugget. The problem I see with this though, and the thing that scares me about how easy it is, is that eventually someone who isn’t a chicken nugget might be at the door.

The fact that so many residents are willing to hold the door open for anyone outside of their hall has a lot to do with UMW’s honor code. No one has any reason to believe that someone like me, a guy wearing a UMW backpack and holding a UMW water bottle, is going to steal stuff out of his fridge because I’m honor-bound to not do that.

Our honor code has built a community of trust that has made UMW a better place to be. Unfortunately, that honor code doesn’t hold weight for non-students, and the only visible difference between a student and an outsider is a backpack.

The school has had trouble in the past with strangers entering private campus facilities without permission. Non-students have been sneaking into the Goolrick gym for years. Outsiders are encroaching on our space more and more. The fact that a commuter student can get into any residence hall on campus may not be a big deal, but one of these outsiders potentially being able to do the same thing is an extremely unsettling thought.

The RAs try their best, but even they can’t be everywhere at once. We shouldn’t necessarily start distrusting each other, but we definitely need to be more careful from now on. Our community is facing some troubling times. Keep an eye out for suspicious looking people, even if they’re wearing a backpack.

Maybe think twice about letting folks you don’t recognize into your residence hall. Non-residents like me will be more than willing to wait that extra minute in the rain for our friends to come get us if it means that their living space is safe. And definitely let your RA know if you see someone walking around your hall who looks like they shouldn’t be there.

We have to start watching each other’s backs, Eagles. We may have our honor code, but that means as little to a stranger on our campus as a locked door.