Opinion: Violet Go is completely pointless
NYU’s one-and-done Daily Screener revamp is unnecessary. We should simply have all our information on our NYU IDs.
Sep 7, 2022
NYU unveiled its brand-new Daily Screener update in late August in anticipation of the new semester. The revamp, called the Violet Go pass, aims to make students’ lives “just a little bit easier,” according to a 30-second promotional video set to the song “Goodbye Stranger” by Supertramp. Compared to the Daily Screener — and the unnecessary hassle of logging into it every day without even needing to answer the screening questions — Violet Go seems like it’s doing its job.
The email sent from the university describes the process: “With Violet Go, just log in and authenticate once, then put the pass in your phone’s ‘wallet,’ — it’ll be there whenever you need it, as long as you stay compliant with the COVID-19 vaccination policy.” Violet Go does make our lives easier. But easier is not the problem we want fixed.
We have surpassed the need for a Daily Screener, or any adaptation of one. The fact that NYU has changed it to a one-and-done pass proves that very point. We have long since moved past the need to fill out a screener every day. Once a student was compliant with the university’s vaccination requirements, all they had to do was log in and the green pass would show up automatically, allowing them to enter NYU buildings. Students felt it was unnecessary, and even found ways to avoid filling it out.
NYU spokesperson John Beckman said that the Violet Go adaptation came as a response to students’ annoyance with having to fill out the Daily Screener every day and the holdup at building entrances.
“It’s our impression that one of the issues with the Daily Screener was that a lot of people used to start logging into the Daily Screener just as they were about to enter an NYU building, which sometimes would hold up the line of entering NYUers, thereby proving to be a source of consternation for all concerned; Violet Go, by being in the phone’s wallet, should eliminate that hurdle,” he wrote in an email to WSN.
A second concern for students related to the Daily Screener was that, if their phone died, or they left it at home, they would not be able to access any buildings. Violet Go is a pass integrated even more into one’s phone, so it doesn’t solve that fear.
In fact, it does not make sense for students to need a phone-based pass at all. We have NYU IDs that, when scanned, should contain all the relevant vaccination information to allow students to enter a building. The only differentiating feature, it seems, is that our IDs have our pictures on them. If the university does not want to put a student’s vaccination status on the screen that shows up when they scan into a building, why not just put their picture on their Violet Go pass, and have their phone double as an ID? It’s already carrying most of the information.
NYU’s approach to COVID-19 safety has been strict, though at times, not well thought out. In fall 2021, NYU was strict about mask-wearing and vaccinations — but the university did not specify which kind of masks were effective, and were not mandating booster shots, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance. These policies changed in early 2022.
“NYU’s vaccination requirement and permitting access to buildings only to those in compliance with the requirement are two principal elements — indeed, really the principal elements — of our COVID-related health and safety protocols,” Beckman wrote.
The new Violet Go pass is another iteration of a COVID-19 guideline from the university that doesn’t really accomplish anything. However, the fact that NYU has not moved to simply putting the information on the ID raises some safety concerns.
Many buildings, including entrances to the Silver Center and Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center, don’t have places to scan student IDs. They rely entirely on security guards to check everybody’s ID and Violet Go pass, which can, for obvious reasons, cause holdups at building entrances.
It’s also highly possible that in a crowd of students, a security guard misses a pass or two. If the guard is not there or distracted while helping a student, anyone could enter without showing their passes or IDs, which poses a security threat. In his statement, Beckman did not comment on this point.
NYU only permits building access to those in compliance with its COVID-19 vaccination policy, but the university does not have a consistent way of checking that compliance — having our vaccination status on our IDs would make that process much easier.
WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.
Contact Jules Roscoe at [email protected]