By Lily Martinez
Harold Washington College is best represented by its diversity and affordable education, but being located in the downtown area has its downside when it comes to the safety and security of our students and faculty.
As everyone knows, students must have a valid HWC student ID to gain access to the building. However, as of January 30, students that were unable to present a valid HWC ID when attempting to enter the building would be turned away regardless of the other forms of identification they had at their disposal.
This is the latest in a string of unclear policies that have encompassed our school’s protocol regarding students who need to attend class but are not able to produce a student ID when attempting to access the building.
Before this, protocols ranged from students having to sign into the building, to students being required to produce pink slips entitled, “ID compliance contract.” The latter is a coercive practice that forces students to sign a fake contract that is not legally binding, in an attempt to motivate them to remember their IDs in the future.
Taj Shelton, a HWC student currently enrolled in a 12-week geography course, was unable to locate her student ID on the first day of class, putting her in danger of an administrative withdrawal from her course.
The “No-Show Withdrawal” policy stipulates that for 12-week courses, students must be present for the initial class session; if a student is absent, they will be dropped from the course automatically, according to CCC’s Office of Strategy and Academic Governance.
Additionally, all courses have administrative and instructor-issued attendance policies in which a violation can result in academic demerit or automatic withdrawal of the student from the class. This means that students cannot afford any absences due to HWC ID protocol violations.
“I thought [the school] would let me attend class, just for the day. I was shocked when the [security] guards wouldn’t let anyone in–at least for class–without an ID. I had proof that I was a student, as well,” said Shelton, who even presented her official class schedule–issued to her by CCC–as proof of her enrollment at Harold Washington College.
The unclear and inconsistent ID policy at HWC is a complex issue that demands immediate attention. This will require mindfulness from Safety and Security and the administration, keeping in mind that students are attending classes that they have paid for. Furthermore, a comprehensive resolution will also require diligence on behalf of students to remember their IDs.
While the protection of all HWC students and faculty remain a top priority for our school, this cannot come at the expense of students and their education. A clear, impartial, and permanent solution must be implemented for the benefit of everyone within the Harold Washington College community.