Editorial: The Campus Passport Portal system is necessary but also inconvenient
In an unprecedented semester, the University has implemented a number of policies both to provide students with necessary campus services and to contain the spread of COVID-19. One such policy is the University’s use of a Campus Passport Portal system, where, in order to access certain services on campus, students must fill out a daily health assessment and confirm their COVID-19 biweekly testing status. Students receive a color and status through the passport system, which corresponds to their eligibility for navigating the campus and accessing dining halls, classrooms, the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center gym and testing sites. This board commends the University for its efforts to ensure the safest possible campus at this time. The passport system is a well-intentioned attempt to deliver a safe yet effective means of both ensuring the best possible campus experience, and making sure students, staff and faculty alike can navigate the campus safely. However, key issues remain with the passport service’s accessibility and ease of use.
One prominent issue with the passport system is its inconvenience of access. There is only one way to log onto the service, which is through the Duo Two-Factor Authentication service. This can be cumbersome for students in a hurry, and inconvenient for those needing to show their passports to campus personnel quickly, such as for accessing a dining hall where they also must present a barcode from the GET app to be admitted. While Duo has a feature that will remember a device for 30 days, this feature often does not work on mobile, making the passport system especially inconvenient. This board feels that the University would do well to develop an app, similar to the student-developed Branda, which would provide easier and quicker access to passports, and in turn, make campus safe and efficient as we head into another semester of these policies.
This board calls on professors to continue to be diligent about checking students’ passports at the beginning of in-person classes, a policy that we have observed some professors overlook. This board would also like to remind students that the passport system is vital to maintaining safe campus operations, and that even though the service itself may be cumbersome to use at times, those who handle the passports themselves, such as dining hall staff and professors, should be treated with respect at all times. Pandemic or not, they are the backbone of this University and its operations. Even though one may be frustrated with the software and, at times, the strictness of having to have a particular passport status to access certain locations, the personnel are there for the community’s safety and should never be the target of one’s frustrations with the software.