It’s the early evening as I stroll through the Quad on my way to Wilson Hall. I’m not alone. I come across my peers traveling to major sports practices, others assembling for a concert in Centennial Hall, and maybe a further number of folks finding themselves debating each other in a mock floor session with the debate team.
I step up to the doors of the Wilson Hall entrance and scan my ID, ready to head to my own post-school function. The reader beeps, but the door remains locked. Shoot. While fellow students commence a meeting inside, I’m stuck outside—joined by a few friends with the same predicament.
Campus life persists long after the dismissal of the last period at 3:15 p.m. But without ID access for those who remain on campus to pursue the various extracurriculars after school, these passion-driven pursuits soon become inconvenienced by an inability to protect belongings, and quite simply, get to where one needs to go.
The lack of ID accessibility in the afternoon and early evening inconveniences students. Meetings are scheduled throughout Wilson Hall, often where people are not able to see or hear you. It becomes an unnecessary cause for delay, especially for those who do not control how early they may show up for an event.
I recently attended a Pegasus meeting scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Wanting to be on time, I arrived on campus five minutes early, but alas, I could not find anyone to let me in, as my ID no longer granted me access to Wilson Hall. Pegasus meets in the Big Room—far from any entranceway. After twelve minutes of scouring for a person to open the door, I finally got a friend to let me in by the library. I was ten minutes late to the meeting.
Ten minutes is, in most cases, not going to be a great expense to an after-school commitment. But it does perpetuate a cyclical annoyance whenever you have to get somewhere.
Sixth Former Will Cordray often finds himself needing to be in Wilson Hall for after-school commitments. A cross-country athlete and jazz band musician, among other pursuits, the ID accessibility window becomes an impedance.
“I have sports every day, and by the time practice finishes, [my] ID card never works,” Cordray said. “I have to wait outside for someone to let me in.”
The upper school administration reports that ID cards permit student access to facilities up until 4:30 p.m.
According to Head of Upper School Mr. Mark Fifer, “The school’s rationale in making [this suspension time] is based on the expectation for supervision when students are in a school building. The school has determined that a reasonable expectation of supervision can be established through 4:30 p.m. based on faculty and staff presence. After 4:30 p.m., there is not a reasonable expectation of supervision based on a lack of faculty and staff presence in the building.”
While the concern of keeping students under supervision is critical, most of the students trying to get access to Wilson Hall at this time are those who have an activity or commitment requiring their presence. Such activities, whether they be ensemble rehearsals or club gatherings, already have faculty present to oversee the meeting.
“Locking out ID’s… is definitely not preventing people from gettin in [the upper school].”Will Cordray ’22
Additionally, the expiration of ID card usage in the afternoon serves more as an inconvenience rather than a barrier to gaining access to the Upper School.
“Locking out IDs is not the most effective because people show up within probably five to ten minutes. It’s definitely not preventing people from getting in,” Cordray said. “It’s just an inconvenience.”
While well-intended, the blockage posed by quick-expiring ID access in the evening creates more obstacles for students than it does for protection. If the overwhelming majority of students using such ID access are there for a meeting under faculty supervision, and if getting into the building is still possible—albeit delayed, I propose an extended accessibility time would benefit students.
No more waiting in the cold for someone to respond to the message you sent them. No more tardiness to a critical after-school meeting. Instead, students could be given additional ease of mind that they can gain access to facilities in their extracurricular life.
It’s a small inconvenience with a far-reaching scope on students in athletics, the arts, and intellectual club life. We must consider a simple extension to the ID access period so that students like me can easily and efficiently gain access to the liveliness that exists after 3:15.