March 1, 2001

C.U. to Reissue ID Cards

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As a consequence to a New York State law instituted last summer, Cornell student identification cards printed before Fall 2000 must be exchanged and replaced with new cards that will not include students’ social security numbers.

The legislation, which established that social security numbers could no longer be used on identification cards, burgeoned from a growing concern among New Yorkers that use of an individual’s social security number as an identifier was a violation of personal privacy.

“There has been a general trend of limiting the use of social security numbers as a visual identifier, which is why the University now identifies students by a six-digit student number,” said Marisa Piliero, project coordinator for student and academic services.

The card exchange will take place this April, and will be a “quick and easy process,” Piliero said. “It shouldn’t take more than five minutes.”

The Bursar’s office will provide “re-carding stations” at various locations on campus including Willard Straight Hall as well as Myron Taylor Hall. Students will be instructed to bring their old cards to the stations where a new card will be printed without a social security number.

Cards will be replaced at no cost to students and “if they would like, students may get a new picture on [their] card,” Piliero said.

Students graduating this May are not required to replace their cards.

Other students were less impressed.

“I’m surprised that Cornell, a university with such an expansive bureaucracy and prestigious reputation, would blatantly overlook a New York state law until now. The students are being inconvenienced as a result of the administration’s cursory law abidance,” said Sheila Dini ’03, referring to the fact that new cards should have been printed over the summer.

The current card exchange is only a temporary solution to comply with the law as soon as possible as the administration plans to re-card the entire University beginning next spring.

Those new cards will be integrated with additional technology, including a “proximity chip” that will replace the magnetic stripe on current cards.

“It is a chip that holds the same information as the magnetic stripe, but students do not have to physically swipe the card, they just have to wave it near the machine, as it has a range of about four centimeters,” said Robert Bandler, director of technology services.

The chip is a “fairly new technological advancement,” Bandler said. “It is presently being used in Europe for transit purposes.”

Cornell students will also be able to use the new card for transportation services, since it is a “joint project with TCAT,” Bandler said.

He added that the cards issued next spring will cost more than this year’s cards, but students will only be charged if they need to replace a card they were already issued.

Archived article by Hillary Profita