Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Letter: Is UPD big brother?

As one of the first residents in the new Elliot School of International Affairs building (1957 E St.), I was thrilled to be spending my senior year in what is now claimed as the best dorm on campus. I was impressed with the accommodations when I moved in, despite the fact I was forced to dodge construction work every time I entered the building. I cheerily developed a first-name relationship with the construction workers who knocked on my door every morning, waking me up almost daily to fix or install something else in my room.

I also dealt with the constant fire drills and alarms sounding as they ironed out the flaws in the emergency alert system. However, when our smoke detectors began going off several times a day due to the smallest provocations, I started to get annoyed. Apparently, not only is the emergency alert system in E St. extremely sensitive (everything from taking a shower to cooking anything sets it off), but it is connected to a central computer system.

When I took down two of the three smoke detectors installed within four feet of each other, UPD knocked on my door within minutes. I can see safety and practical reasons for such a system and so did not complain when they barged into my room day after day every time someone took a shower or heated up a frozen pizza. But when UPD showed up after my roommate had taken a shower, they asked me not only for my name and phone number, but for my social security number and date of birth. I gave it to them reluctantly, and it was not until they left that I suddenly had the strong feeling that I was living in a police state not unlike that of “1984.”

What kind of school is this, when your roommate takes a shower and you are left giving a police report? I was upset enough about this that my roommate and I called UPD to inquire about their procedures. Did they take all this information from me so they can open a credit card and apply for a mortgage in my name? How about just a name and a phone number? If UPD wants to verify every time someone in my room has taken a shower then they can call me. In fact, maybe I’ll just give them a hand and call them before I take my shower to save them a trip out.

Perhaps I’ll just prepare several hundred copies of a sheet containing my social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, blood type, favorite vegetable, and any other personal details that might prove useful in combating the dangers of taking a shower. Gosh, I wouldn’t want to hide anything or maintain any privacy from GW now would I?

-Kristin Wardell
senior

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