New IDs will be harder to fake

Yale will begin issuing new student identification cards next semester featuring a hologram image in order to make it more difficult to falsify the date of birth on the card.

Effective next fall, only ID cards bearing a hologram will be accepted as proof of age at college-sponsored events, Council of Masters chair Judith Krauss said. The masters voted unanimously this month to switch to hologram ID cards, a suggestion made by the Committee on Alcohol Policy in Yale College’s comprehensive report on the University’s drinking environment, which was released last winter.

As a result of a Council of Masters decision, the ID Card Center will produce new student IDs with holograms beginning next spring.
Mark Albis
As a result of a Council of Masters decision, the ID Card Center will produce new student IDs with holograms beginning next spring.

“One of the recommendations was that we go to an ID system that would make it … easier for students, as well as those checking, to have their IDs checked, but also make them less likely to be tampered with,” Krauss said.

Driver’s licenses in some states have hologram images buried in them in order to ensure authenticity, Krauss said. Licenses with holograms will also be accepted as proof of age at college events, she said.

Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said the change is meant to prevent students from creating fake Yale IDs, which has been a common problem in the past.

“The old ID card is very easy to duplicate,” Trachtenberg said. “We have a card now that has joined the 20th century, not to mention the 21st century.”

Jonathan Edwards College Master Gary Haller said he often observes underage drinking at JE events — such as the annual Spider Ball in the spring — even when students are required to present proof of age.

Current University ID cards are protected by a clear laminate material meant to provide resistance to abrasions, moisture and chemicals, Director of Finance and Administration Victor Stein said. The new cards will simply use a different gloss that contains a hologram in it.

“There will be no mass or mandatory replacement of ID cards,” Stein said in an e-mail. “When the new laminate material is received by the University from the manufacturer sometime during the spring 2007 term, all Yale ID cards produced from that time forward will be made with the new hologram.”

The ID Center will issue a new card, without charge, to any student who turns over his or her current ID in the spring, Stein said.

Saybrook College Master Mary Miller said the change will benefit students as well as the University because it will make the IDs harder to duplicate.

“This is a move to a different kind of ID card that many other institutions have taken,” she said. “No form of official identification, whether a driver’s license or a passport or Yale ID, should be able to be easily duplicated.”

But while administrators said they think the change is a reasonable precaution, some students said they think the move is unnecessary. Cristina Almendarez ’08 said she thinks the new policy is not likely to have a significant negative impact on campus social life. She said she has not seen enough students using fake IDs at college-sponsored events to warrant the new cards.

Wilma Bainbridge ’09 said she thinks spending money on minting new ID cards is a waste of the University’s resources. She too has not observed many underage students using fake IDs to drink at college-sponsored events, she said.

“College students drink all the time,” Bainbridge said. “It’s more the responsibility of the students to make sure they are making good decisions. I don’t think the administration should crack down on [fake IDs].”

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