Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Switch to new UCards met with mixed enthusiasm

Sami Webber/Collegian

Last Thursday,  the official switch to the new UCard took place. Students were asked to swap out their old cards in the UCard Office by 5 p.m. that day in preparation for the deactivation of the older cards.

For students who had their old UCard on hand, this was a fairly easy process. However, if a student did not have the old UCard to swap, they were required to pay a $25 replacement fee.

Thomas Mahaney, manager of the UCard Office, explained the replacement process to the Daily Collegian.

“Housing Services and the UCard Office are working together to issue on-campus students new iClass UCards this semester, prior to buildings migrating to the new iClass door access readers next spring,” Mahaney stated. “To facilitate this process, the UCard Office pre-printed UCards this past summer for the majority of students currently living on campus.”

Mahaney also described the swap process that students went through in order to get their new UCards.

“As we roll out each building, we supply Housing Services with the new 16-digit card numbers for those students for whom we have pre-printed cards,” he said. “Housing then modifies those students’ records in their door access software so that both the old and new cards will work during the time period we are asking students to swap out their cards.”

Due to the fact that each student has a unique library barcode, students must be issued a new library code with their new UCard should they not have an old UCard to trade. Mahaney further explained the motivations for wanting to make the trade.

“The new pre-printed UCards have the current 15-digit library barcode number printed on them,” Mahaney said. “Someone could find and use the lost/stolen card to check out books, and perhaps other library resources in the student’s name, resulting in problems for both the student and the library.”

Although the fees and card replacements are mandatory, some students questioned the methods they had to follow in order to facilitate the process.

Colie Lemay, a  junior communications major , explained her frustration.

“I think that the UCard as a system is good, but the system of replacing your UCard is inconvenient,” Lemay said. “They should take a credit card to replace your UCard.”

Lemay also expressed her opinion that the UCard Office should have thought about students’ convenience when determining the swap process.

“People working [the UCard Office] need to take into consideration that not everything is our fault,” Lemay continued. “And that you might lose it on a day that you don’t happen to have two hours to waste at the UCard Office. I realize it’s my responsibility to get it fixed, but it shouldn’t be such an inconvenient process, because honestly, you can’t get by on campus without it.”.

Despite students receiving a discounted fee of $10 to replace damaged cards, Lemay argued that this might still be unreasonable.

“If it’s for some reason not working when you have it, that shouldn’t be the student’s responsibility to repair,” she noted. “By the time you’re a junior, there’s so much wear and tear on your UCard that you’re probably going to have to get it replaced.”

Karissa Hamblet can be reached at [email protected].

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