Environment School to issue ID stickers after all

The University’s decision to discontinue ID stickers is proving stickier than administrators expected.

Yale announced in early January that it would no longer use the colorful stickers to indicate that ID cards are valid, but students have complained that the missing stickers would make the IDs appear expired to store clerks and other people outside the University. Now, some graduate schools may choose to issue the stickers after all, and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies already has.

Victor Stein, executive director of Student Financial and Administrative Services, said the University has not reversed its decision but that several professional schools are considering altering their policies. He added that the changes, which will create inconsistencies among Yale’s many ID holders, will lead to confusion.

Even more confusion, that is, than has already resulted from eliminating the stickers — a decision that administrators acknowledge was not fully considered before it was made. Deputy Provost Lloyd Suttle said in early January that administrators had considered only security, not how the cards would work away from campus.

“We just really didn’t think it was that big a deal,” Suttle said. “They are used for other purposes that we’re learning about, but if it’s critical people should not have been relying on stickers anyway.”

An Environment School student affairs newsletter sent Wednesday said that the continuation of the stickers would allow students to take advantage of discounts during the summer. Joanne DeBernardo, director of student affairs and registrar of the Environment School, declined to comment.

When the decision to eliminate the stickers was originally announced, some students voiced concerns that the lack of new stickers would make local retailers, museums, theaters or other merchants that offer student discounts turn down students with apparently outdated identification. Administrators said students could remove their “DEC 2009” sticker, though beneath it is the word “VOID” in red letters.

The University said in a statement that students are free to remove the old stickers from their IDs. New cards issued this semester have been redesigned so there is no “VOID” mark where the sticker used to belong.

Security was the main reason for the University’s decision, officials said. Using stickers as a form of security can present problems, Suttle said in early January after he announced the decision, because they can be easily misplaced, transferred from one card to another or issued to people who leave Yale before their stickers expire. The University had been waiting to make the move until they had technology to support an electronic system, he added.

By replacing visual checks with electronic scans, the University will be able to check every cardholder’s enrollment or employment status against a central database, eliminating security concerns, Suttle said.

Since the murder of Annie Le GRD ’13 in September, the University has made several changes to security policy, though administrators said they intended the removal of ID stickers to improve security in general, not to respond directly to Le’s death. In October, the University revised its workplace security policy, which now delineates unacceptable workplace behavior, such as verbal or physical abuse, and requires employees to report threatening behavior to supervisors or authorities.

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