Recently I was charged a $20 penalty for UCI Police's assistance in
entering my graduate student apartment in Palo Verde. My keys -- along
with a UCI laptop and the rest of my briefcase -- were stolen in
Orlando that week and I'd just arrived back from the airport at
No, my roommate wasn't home to let me in, nor was that the easy way
out previous times. I travel almost twice a month on research duties
-- the previous time I'd been locked out was because my keys were
still at O'Hare.
UCIPD, whether because they saw a previous lockout assist record or
just on a whim, billed Housing $20 this time. Regardless of whether
that's a fair price, Housing naturally turned around and billed me --
because *Housing* won't let students have a backup set of keys. Look
at your keyring right now: "State of CA -- Do Not Duplicate."
These two aren't the only incidents -- I've been locked out before for
reasons as simple as letting the door shut behind you, though luckily
during the day, when Palo Verde Housing staff can assist you for free.
The piece de resistance, though, was that because I was a victim of a
theft, Housing wanted to force us to rekey the locks on the door. I
was to pay $100 to protect the University from the remote liabilty
that the laptop thief -- in Orange County, *Florida* -- might break in.
I have run into similar problems with laboratory keys to my
office. UCI as my employer definitely has a right to limit me to one
key and prevent duplication -- UCIPD handles lockouts for free,
too. UCI as my landlord, though, seems to be overreaching in
preventing me from a second set of backup keys.
At the very least, if the Housing Department hews to its policy, it
should accept the responsibility of covering lockout assistance, to a
reasonable level. (If anyone thinks twice a year is unreasonable, then
we have a different debate on our hands.) And finally, I'm surprised
to see police work treated as fee-for-service transaction. Will safety
escorts cost students too, someday?
3207 Palo Verde
Irvine, CA 92612
949 725 3441