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Penn card photo illustration Credit: Amanda Suarez , Amanda Suarez

It’s time to start paying attention to where you leave your key and PennCard, as Residential Services has instituted a fine to those who frequently need to sign themselves in or borrow a key.

Residential Services announced on Monday that it would be implementing a new policy in which students will be fined $35 for having to sign in at house information desks more than five times in a semester. The policy, which will go into place on Sept. 16, will be implemented in all of the college houses and Sansom Place.

Students will both be able to sign in five times and borrow a key five times without any consequences. After the fifth time, students will be required to talk with a house staff member.

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“On the fifth time, we will actually sit down with the student and ask can you go grab your card and your key, and lets have a talk and strategize so people don’t lose cards and keys,” John Eckman, director of Residential Services, said.

Then on the sixth time, the student’s Student Financial Services account will be automatically charged $35. The price for replacing a key under normal circumstances is $30.

“We chose $35 because we actually want it to be cheaper to get a new key than it is to continue getting the checkout key,” Eckman said.

Eckman explained that there are two main reasons for the change.

“If somebody loses their key or their ID, we really do want them to report that and get their key replaced, so we don’t just have a key or an ID floating out there” for security reasons, Eckman said. “There have been times when people have utilized this as a long-term service when they haven’t been able to find their keys.”

The second reason is that there have been cases where students have given their IDs and keys to friends or significant others to use while the actual residents sign in at the information desk, according to Eckman.

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Business Services’ Director of Communications and External Relations, Barbara Lea Kruger, added, “There were some people who were really abusing the system, because we could tell they had lots and lots [of sign ins].”

Students will be able to see how many more times they still have on the signature pads when they sign in or sign out keys.

Residential Services chose the number five after analyzing data from past years at college house information desks.

“We went on the high side because we actually don’t want this to be a penalty to someone who just forgets their keys,” Eckman said. “We don’t want someone to worry so much about locking their keys in their room that this becomes something stressful.”

The count resets at the end of each semester.

“Very few people lock themselves out of their rooms unintentionally more than five times in a semester,” Eckman added.

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College sophomore Jesse Yoder, who works at Sansom West’s information desk, said that it was very easy for students to forget their PennCards in their rooms.

“The Info Center should be there to help students, not facilitate fines,” Yoder added.

College junior Shayan Cheraghlou did, however, point out, “It’ll give more incentive to kids to not lose their cards all the time and to buy new ones more quickly.”

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