Brown CS Blog

After Student Input, Brown CS Experiments With Further Opening The CIT


Brown CS is listening to all members of our community, and as scientists, we're willing to experiment with changes to even longstanding policy. On December 15, 2016, a student posted the following to the internal Brown CS Facebook group:

"Hi friends! Does anyone know anything about how swipe access to the upper-level floors of the CIT gets determined? I understand why it may be important to restrict access to only members of the Brown community outside of regular business hours, but it’s not entirely clear to me why access is restricted to only certain groups (TAs, etc.) beyond that.

Logistically, not giving all students access is a problem in that there are plenty of events on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of the CIT in the evening/on the weekends that are supposed to be open to everyone, but require students to get swiped up.

Beyond swipe access as a logistical issue though, making a space like the third-floor atrium physically inaccessible also has the power to make students feel excluded from the department itself. There is both academic and social value in being able to collaborate on an assignment or talk about course selections with other students that you run into by chance in spaces like the third-floor atrium.

If anyone knows anything about this/has any ideas/thoughts/opinions lmk!"

Professor Tom Doeppner, head of the undergraduate program, was listening, and he had this response within twenty-four hours:

"There are a number of reasons why the upper floors of CIT have been closed to the general public during non-business hours. Among them are concern about theft and concern about people being poor citizens and leaving furniture in disarray and trash strewn about. These aren't just things we fear might happen, but are things that have happened repeatedly. However, we're a much larger department than we used to be and we need to accommodate the needs of our students. So, as an experiment, we will be leaving the CIT elevators unlocked through Tuesday evening 12/20, as long as a security guard is present. Thus, the upper floors will be open starting this evening and over the weekend as long as a guard is present. If we don't have any of the problems we've been concerned about in the past, we'll consider extending the policy for next semester."

Even hours later, the likes were still pouring in.

For more information, please click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus. The image above is © 2016 by Timothy Mueller-Harder and used with permission.