Early this summer, not long after many students had left for the break, Claudia Cohen Hall joined the ranks of those buildings on campus that can only be accessed by PennCard. In order to enter Cohen Hall, you now need to tap your card on the reader. If you forget your card, or if you’re not a member of the Penn community, you must use the small box to one side of the door to communicate with remote security personnel and gain admittance.
Cohen Hall is home to a variety of academic departments and classroom spaces as well as the College Office, where academic advisors meet with hundreds of students each week. While we understand the desire to keep us secure, we believe the lockdown of Cohen Hall, and other similar buildings, is misguided and sends a bad message. Our building should be a public space, welcoming to visitors and community members alike. This new security level feels like another concession to the environment of fear that has gripped the entire country in recent years.
The University has spent too much time in the past creating a Penn fortress to lock out the city beyond. Now, more than ever, we need to resist that urge and reaffirm the ideals of openness and inclusiveness that make this place special.
Academic Advisors in the College