Security “Compromise” leads to Student Frustration over Door Code Changes

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Students living in the South Hill and Hartley Grove residences at Glen Eyre were left fuming on Tuesday after door codes to their rooms were changed without sufficient warning.

Residents on the Chamberlain complex were left unsure whether to leave their rooms or not and several students returned home only to find themselves locked out.

However the University has told the Wessex Scene that security at the Glen Eyre complex “may have been compromised”, and that “changing the codes was a matter of urgency.”

The University added “We appreciate that this may have caused inconvenience to some students, however student security always comes first.”

Halls staff put up notices of the changes to codes on doors, but students vented their anger on Facebook over the lack of warning and explanation given.

A first year English student told the Wessex Scene: “I know a lot of residents were pretty annoyed, and some chose not to leave their flats until they could find out more information, which would have obviously disrupted their plans for the day. Not to mention that we’ve just started exams so after a hard day of work at Hartley, it would have been less than convenient to find out that you’ve been locked out of your flat.”

Can you imagine how pissed you’d be next year if your landlord just decided on a whim to change the locks, and left a pathetic note saying you could come collect your new keys from the estate agent??

Chamberlain Resident
Facebook Post

Ironically, the confusion resulted in further security risks as the new door codes were shared over the South Hill and Hartley Grove Facebook page, which as a public page allows anyone to view content.

The Chamberlain JCR, who represent students living at South Hill and Hartley Grove, were also not informed of the decision to change door codes to accommodation and laundry facilities.

JCR President David Gunns said to the Scene that “To deal with the issue, the JCR has been proactive in contacting SUSU, who are in correspondence with the university via the relevant VP’s and department managers. We will also be making a complaint of our own. We wish to work with halls management to put safeguards in place to ensure this does not happen again.”

“Students popping out to check for post or collect a shopping delivery returned to find they were locked out of their halls in freezing temperatures. Quite how they expected 400 of us to go to Glen Eyre Reception, interrupting crucial revision in the middle of our first set of exams is beyond me!”

“We agree that student security is of paramount importance, but the current policy on changing door codes is definitely in need of reform.”

He also warned students about sharing door codes over Facebook, deleting posts made by individuals and advising them to share such sensitive information only through private messaging.

In a statement the University defended its actions:

“Students were notified of the changes to codes via notices on their doors. These notices informed students that new codes could be retrieved from the main Glen Eyre reception, which is open 24 hours a day.  This way of informing students is standard University procedure, as it is the most secure and direct way of doing so at short notice.

“Student safety and security is of paramount importance to us. If we have reason to believe that safety and security may have been compromised, we do not hesitate to take action at short notice. Due to the urgent nature of the matter, it is not always possible to inform JCRs in advance.”

The students’ union responded to the events, with VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy saying “We understand that security is very important within halls, as it is in anyone’s home.

“[VP Welfare and Communities Frankie Fry] and I will now be working with the University going forward as to the best ways to quickly communicate with students in halls. We are also working closely with the University on a longer term solution on issues surrounding key coded access to residences.”

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Discussion21 Comments

  1. avatar

    In fairness to the university, exactly what more could they have done in the urgent situation to inform students about the codes? I agree it’s a rubbish situation and a real pain in the arse, but the truth is that realistically not more could have been done in my opinion.

    Matthew Higgins
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    A bulk SMS message? The University will hold most people’s mobile numbers somewhere, as easily as they send out e-mails, a text could have been sent to everyone for around £0.01 each, even less than the cost of printing a note to stick under each and every door, and it doesn’t rely on students getting back to their room to read it?

    Luke
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    if only it were that simple… I imagine many phone numbers have changed. I know I’ve changed numbers a couple of times and should probably have updated someon at the uni but never have…

  2. avatar

    What was the urgency of the situation exactly? If security was compromised in some way before, surely the posting of codes only Facebook have only done this again… Meaning the codes will need to be changed again!

  3. avatar

    “Security codes were compromised, so we put up signs everywhere with the new codes on.”

    Why are people so bad at security?

    Jamie Chadd
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    To clarify, the codes were not put on the doors, students had to go to reception with their student ID and keys.

    Dan Palmer
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    I have keys, and I have the ability to create something that looks enough like a student ID.

    I highly doubt people were checked off on a list or that there was any sort of security like this.

  4. avatar

    Even if the codes weren’t printed on the signs (which they were for me in Archers Road last year), I bet I could have got the codes out of the reception staff with some rubbish excuse despite not living there.

    Moggy
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    As an Archers Road resident last year I can’t recall this. In Gateley they would slide the new codes on a sheet of paper under your door. And if you ask for the codes they check for Student ID, which they match with who lives in the blocks

    Dan Palmer
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    I was in Romero, but I remember there being something quite dodgy with the door codes. Might have been on the arrivals day. To be honest, you could just hang around and ask for someone to let you in and 99% of people would.

    Luke
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    I recall having to show the photo ID card the uni gives you and the staff run a check on a computer against your ID number. The inconvenience of having to take a short walk to get a code over the inconvenience of some chav nicking your laptop… easy call really, a storm in a tea cup.

  5. avatar

    Surely if they were informed to go to Glen Eyre reception it can’t have taken more than maybe 5 minutes out of their day to go there and find it out. This is a case of people complaining because they are too lazy to walk 200 yards….

    In my first year, door codes were changed every 3 months or so and while inconvenient, it’s hardly a reason to keep you locked in your flat all day out of fear of being locked out.

  6. avatar

    So the codes got changed…hardly the end of the world!

    Last year (in Chamberlain) this happened to us regularly and occasionally we’d get caught out when we didn’t know the new code but a simple text to a flatmate would solve the problem pretty quickly (if someone hadn’t already let us in). Do these people not talk to each other? Only one person needs to go and find out the new code for a flat/building. If these signs were put up inside (as they always are!) there will undoubtedly be someone inside who can read them and let the right people know.

    It is really not that hard to find a solution. Would they have rather had people stealing their stuff? They just need to use some common sense.

    Luke
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    fully agree! Can you imagine the story if someone had nicked loads of stuff or worse attacked/raped someone and nothing had been done by the uni… some people are never happy!

  7. avatar

    At least the problem was dealt with quickly. Better that than fury that things were being stolen from the halls.

    Long live Richard Newitt in Glen Eyre with it’s keys haha.

  8. avatar

    This already happened about 2 months ago to some in Ash court, where there was also no warning beforehand, but I don’t recall there being as much fuss then as there has been the last few days. I don’t know if I’m just being silly, but is it such a big fuss? A nuisance, yes. But nothing that deserves full blown rants on facebook 😛 It just takes about 5 minutes to go to Glen (unless you are me and got lost this morning.. then its is probably 20)

  9. avatar

    People have really gone over the top about this fiasco, i live in chambers and it wasn’t that bad, i would rather my door code changed than get robbed or have something worse happen to people in the buildings. Its just another code to remember, just put it in your phone for god sake this is so pathetic. It was obviously a necessity and i am sure they will tell us in advance next time. There were some dodgy men around hartley that morning which could have been the cause for the change. But man up people it’s 4 new digits hardly the end of the world!!!

  10. avatar

    Even though it’s not a big deal it’s just inconsiderate, and part of a much bigger problem or severe lack of communication between the Uni and the students. Although on most occasions Soton excels, on others it fails and it’s always the students that suffer the consequences. They could easily have put more of an apology on the note, not just the standard ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’. Especially during the middle of an exam period…

    Luke
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    Really… What else could they actually say… a hand written letter to each resident perhaps, or a gift of a chocolate on everyones pillow as a sorry, or how about the standard UK practice of “sorry for the inconvenience” on a public notice… Security was compromised, a fix was put in place, residents were informed, uni appologised, end of story. At least you haven’t lost a laptop with all your revision notes or been attacked in your own flat etc and spend the exams filling out insurance claims or filing police reports.

  11. avatar

    Maybe a bit silly, but why don’t they just put card readers on the doors so we can use our ID cards to get in, same way we get into the library, onto buses, into buildings etc…they’re already around Glen for the bike sheds why not the halls as well? Too sensible?

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