Last updated: May 30 2014, 3:10pm

The following suggestions and FAQ relate to the information published on the Key and Card Access Policy page.

See also page with information on Science Center Open Hours.

Key Access

How do I request key access for somebody?

Send an email to


OneCard Access

How do I request card access for somebody?

Send an email to

What do I do if my OneCard does not work for opening a card access door?
If you have problems opening a card access door with your OneCard, (1) make sure the door is fully closed, (2) don’t touch the door or handle, (3) then bring your card up to the card reader. Also remember that for some groups, access is limited at certain hours. If you have problems double-swiping, sometime it helps counting: swipe-1-2-swipe. It’s important to get just the right pause between swipes. Also remember you can only double-swipe doors you otherwise have access to open and only within the time periods outlined in the Science Center Access Policy.

If you are still experiencing problems with OneCard access, email the following information to and cc

  • Name of card holder:
  • Smith ID of card holder:
  • Contact phone number (extension):
  • Time where access was attempted:
  • Which door(s) wouldn’t open?
  • Did the card reader light up green?
  • If yes, was it a short green flash or a solid green lasting for a couple of seconds?
  • Did you hear a ‘click’ from the door lock mechanism?

The OneCard office will attempt to ascertain if the problem is (1) insufficient access privileges, (2) bad card, (3) bad card reader, (4) bad locking mechanism in door.

I am organizing evening/weekend event in Ford/SR/Burton; how do participants get in?

See Event and Space Policies

Can I use my old OneCard to open doors now?

To use card reader, OneCard has to be the new generation card with picture of campus center roof. Those with old cards have to go to OneCard office in Stoddard for a free exchange (

Do ALL new OneCards open doors?

No. Only OneCards for current students, faculty and staff will open the doors, or visitors cards given to 5-college students in Science Classes.

Can we program individual doors in Ford Hall as the external door is programmed? For example, couldn’t I have the door to my teaching or research lab programmed to be unlocked during Ford Hall open access hours? Seems like this might be a straightforward solution for students to access the teaching labs when follow-up is expected (such as my microbiology course).

The basic intention with card access is that card access doors are locked at all times, but easily opened by those that need to get in. Technically it is possible to individually program doors, but we don’t have the staffing resources to develop the processes necessary or, more importantly, do the ongoing work necessary to maintain and update such programming. Student access is either assured through (1) faculty or staff double-swiping a door when needed, (2) Registrar & OneCard office based on class registration, or (3) through request for Division 3 Research Students or work study students.

How do I make sure the class I teach can get into the card-access teaching lab [or other card-access room]?

For rooms with key access, it’s typically the instructor or somebody from the department that unlocks the door and re-locks it at the end of the day. As mentioned above, there are three main ways to ensure access to a card-access space (1) faculty or staff double-swiping a door when needed (similar to key access), (2) Registrar & OneCard office based on class registration, or (3) through csc-access request for Division 3 Research Students or work study students.

How do I request card access privileges for everybody registered for a specific class? (Option 2 in preceeding answer)

Send an email request to the OneCard office ( They have the capability to automatically pull the class list from Banner and allocate access privileges to specific card access rooms used for the class, if requested by the instructor.

More detail from OneCard Office: Once we create the course access clearance it is assigned through a fed from Banner, so students will automatically be assigned access 1 to 2 days after their registration is completed in Banner. This can sometimes impact access for those students who are registering during the add/drop period. Five college students who are registered for a course requiring card access can get a Smith College Access Card at the OneCard Office, during our drop-in hours of Tues – Fri 1:30 – 3:30 or by calling ahead to ext 3082. All course based access is active 24-hours a day, 7-days a week from the first day of classes through the last day of finals at the door(s) requested. Each student’s access is only active for courses in which they are registered for the currently semester, so each class’ access will expire at the end of the semester. The course access, however, will automatically rollover from semester to semester, so anytime this course is offered in the future that semester’s students will receive access to Ford 320 and 322 as well as the main atrium door, unless we receive a request to cancel it.

So what happens when I have started a reaction in the lab, have gone back to my office, and then the power to the key access computer goes down or the computer running the system crashes? Do I leave the reaction for the fire department?

The card access system is on UPS and backup power system. If the system still should become inoperable, keys can be used as emergency override. Admin staff, custodians, Facilties staff, and public safety have master keys. If you are a Smith College employee and concerned about emergency access to a card access space (in case of system failure), you may chose to keep your key. However, remember that you can only use key as emergency override and that an alarm will sound at Public Safety.

Why am I not allowed to use my key in a card access door? I strongly object to [this policy]. I do a great deal of door opening and have the habit of using my key for all doors. After hours, I can see some sense in this, but during regular hours key access should not cause a visit from campus security. I view this as an intrusion.

Using a key in a card access door would defeat the purpose of having a card access system: better control, less administration.

Are we getting card entry for our offices as well? I ask because my office key also opens my lab. If I am expected to return any key that provides access to my lab then I will not be able to get into my office.

There are no plans to add card entry to offices. In the case you mention, you can keep your key. Anybody who has a key that opens multiple doors (and one of them does not have card access) can keep their key. Don’t use key in card access rooms unless emergency, as alarm will sound with Public Safety.

Having now been here a while, I realize that I need access to other rooms that I had not previously listed. If I e-mail you the list, can you add them to my card access??

Access requests should be submitted by your department chair, program director, supervisor, faculty advisor (for research students), or the Director of the Science Center. Email all requests to div3-keys.

Why can’t I get a key to the Seasons Room or 3rd floor kitchen?

Key are not given out to common spaces that are supposed to be left unlocked at all times. See the Access and Key Policy page for up-to-date list of these rooms. We have had issues with some college staff members locking such room in error. If you encounter such an incident, please report it to the Director’s Office.

Why can I not get into the elevator from the loading dock side, but go around and enter from inside the building?

The design intention is to avoid having the elevator function as an exterior door and limit use to deliveries, stockroom and Facilities.

Rather than all seven research students each having to get card access to a shared lab space, e.g. CMBS FH123, could there be a shared lab card?

The process for getting card access has now been simplified. Having a shared card would defeat some of the benefits of a card access system.

What events trigger alarms at Public Safety? What should I do if I know I have triggered an alarm? What does Public Safety do when receiving an alarm?
Alarm will sound if a door is propped open or a key is used in a door with card reader. If you know you have triggered an alarm, you should notify Public Safety at x2490. After implementation phase has been completed, Public Safety will start sending an officer in any case to verify the situation and check the building.

What do I do if I have forgotten my key or card at home?

In general, find another community member that knows you and that might be able to help you. If nobody is available, and you have forgotten your keys or card, you are asked to go home and get it. Building Services (custodians) are asked NOT to open doors unless message comes from their supervisor. Please do not ask custodial staff directly to unlock doors. Public Safety can be called and will open doors on an exception basis if they can verify your Smith ID.

Why am I having trouble with leaving doors unlocked using double-swipe?

Double-swiping is finicky. It’s important to get just the right pause between swipes. Sometime it helps counting: swipe-1-2-swipe. When having trouble, watch out for the pause. Also remember you can only double-swipe doors you otherwise have access to open and only within the time periods outlined on the Access and Key Policy page.