Washington Square News

Washington Square News

Washington Square News

Off-Third: NYU Housing moves to implement microchip building access

As NYU embraces microchip technology, students will no longer need a physical key to enter their dorms.

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Contactless technology is a potential solution to traditional door locks and keys. NYU housing is now implementing contactless door access in dorms. (Illustration by Max Van Hosen)

Shamon Lawrence, Deputy Opinion Editor

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

“Keys are outdated,” according to an email from the NYU Office of Residential Life and Housing Services sent to residential students. Over the summer, the office completed a series of renovations to certain residence halls — including Weinstein and Carlyle. One of the major additions is the Latch app, which enables students to unlock room and suite doors using a phone or smartwatch’s Bluetooth connectivity. Students click the unlock button and hold their phone near the lock to remotely unlock the door. The email went on to include statistics about lockouts and replacement key fees.

“When I lived here we had linoleum floors,” one Weinstein RA said about the upgrades. “Now, these students have wood floors and a digital key. What’s next?”

Despite the fact that this is a new rollout, the Latch app will be replaced with microchip technology in spring 2023. This comes in response to a series of complaints from restless RAs and students afraid of their phones dying. Many students believe microchips will revolutionize campus housing, paving the way for advanced technological pursuits across the university such as telepathic elevator buttons, virtual reality dining halls and classroom holograms.

In response to the announcement, Carolyn Milea, the Director of Dining Services, initially mistook microchips to be a food product.

“Are you referring to potato chips? We already sell those at most of our locations,” she said. “Do students want smaller chips? Micro chips?” 

But after further explanation, Milea came to the conclusion that “students should be able to store their dining dollars and campus cash on their microchip. We could use the new technology.” 

Despite pushback from the company that produces microchips, NYU is determined to find any company that will produce the chips needed to access residence halls and eventually store all student information.

“We don’t usually work with universities for this sort of project,” the microchip manufacturer wrote in an email to WSN. “We are quite concerned about the intentions of such a pursuit.”  

While the rollout of microchips may prove to be successful, many are worried about how the university will handle the large-scale implantation of the chips for purposes beyond housing. One proposal gaining traction in student circles is replacing Duo Mobile with microchip connectivity, creating a streamlined NYU login authentication. For now, housing will be the only unit to use the technology for building and room access. 181 Mercer will be the first on-campus residence to debut the chip technology.

NYU initially required all in-person students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 last fall. Similarly, NYU is expected to require all in-person students to receive the microchip implant in the fall of 2023, and it will be used for building access, class attendance and other mystical technological feats that are essential to the function of the university. We live in a time when keys, IDs and all essential elements of the university must adapt to the changing world. Microchips are the future of education and any student who rejects this social order should be excluded from academia.

We spoke to a first year-student living in Weinstein, who faithfully wears the NYU lanyard around their neck, about the proposed changes to building access.

“Microchips are already replacing keys,” they said. “What happens when the chip replaces our IDs? How else are people supposed to know we go to NYU?”

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column. 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 Shamon Lawrence at [email protected]

About the Writer
Photo of Shamon Lawrence
Shamon Lawrence, Deputy Opinion Editor

Shamon Lawrence is a senior studying English education, and minoring in global and urban education. He is passionate about educational equity, inclusion...

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    JamesSep 8, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    love this story. Keep them coming, hopefully not on a microchip.

    Reply