Water bottles, books and coats were scattered on top of the lockers in the Commuter Lounge last week. Students who weren’t lucky enough to find an open locker for their belongings left them out in the open.
While the 60 lockers in the Commuter Lounge are meant for daily use, students have been leaving their locks on overnight and throughout the weekend, making it difficult for some students to access a locker at all.
“Everyone claims a locker and just uses it as their own,” said Laura Gorecki, a junior biology major. She removed some items from her locker before putting the lock back on. “When I came this was probably like the only one that was left. I guess I got lucky.”
Signs have been put up explaining the daily use policy in the commuter lounge since about Aug. 30, said Jason Levy, senior director of Student Center Operations, but the policy was not enforced until last Friday.
“I didn’t want to put them up on a Tuesday and then that week take [the locks] down,” Levy said. “I wanted folks to know what was going on, so they could prepare for the removal.”
The three signs posted in the lounge explain that the locks and the contents in each locker will be removed every Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and Friday at 4:30 p.m. in accordance with the daily use policy. The contents of the locker will then be taken to Temple Police’s Lost & Found, where students can retrieve them.
“My hope is that people will use the lockers more as a daily use option and less as, ‘This is my locker for the semester or the year,’ or whatever they think,” Levy said.
“Because everyone else was doing it, I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Gorecki said of continually keeping her lock on her locker.
Caroline Jones, a junior marketing major and commuter, said she has wanted to use a locker, but hasn’t been able to find one because students were keeping locks on them.
“With the days that I’m here, like Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would want to use a locker because I’m here all day,” she said. “It’s hard being a commuter, carrying bags all the time and bringing stuff in.”
Jones said she wanted the daily use policy to be enforced, but also feels conflicted about it.
“At the same time I feel like there’s so many commuters at Temple, where it would just be like a fight for the lockers,” she said.
On Friday, the first removal took place at 4:30 p.m. as locks still on lockers were removed by Student Center staff using a bolt cutter.
Levy said because the policy wasn’t enforced until a little more than two weeks after the original signs were posted that he would post additional signs last Thursday afternoon to inform students the policy would take effect the next day.
These signs were never put up. Because this was the first time the policy was enforced, however, students’ belongings were taken to the Student Center information desk, where they were scheduled to be kept until Tuesday morning. They would either be discarded or taken to Temple Police’s Lost & Found. In the future, belongings will be taken directly to the lost & found.
Daniela Florido, a sophomore criminal justice major, said she thinks the daily use policy is fair, but will not address the larger problem with commuter lockers.
“There’s an abundance of us and there’s just very few lockers and very few spaces for us to go, so I think it’s a short-term fix to the issue,” Florido said. “I understand the motive behind it. I just don’t think it addresses the full issue.”
There are also 44 daily-use lockers available in the Student Center, Levy said. The Student Center, however, is farther away from the SEPTA Regional Rail station.
Levy said he would consider working to find a space for more lockers if the continued enforcement of the daily use policy in the commuter lounge is not effective in providing commuters with a space for their belongings.
Jenny Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.