I'm taking a night class at the University of Utah this semester. Haven't mentioned in the blog because I didn't think most people would be interested in the finer points of creating database driven websites. However I'll have to make an exception when it comes to last night's class -- which wasn't held thanks to the university's security department. The instructor for this class is part-time. Therefore he has no keys to the computer lab we need to have our class. For some reason the lab was locked last night and the instructor spent a good 20 minutes attempting to locate someone who had keys. Not being able to find someone, he called campus security to see if they could unlock the door.
Two beefy guys showed up about ten minutes later with a set of keys. The instructor explained the situation and asked them to open the lab. The security guys asked of the instructor had any documentation that showed we were scheduled to use the lab. The instructor produced a roll for the class which wasn't good enough fort the beefy security guys. They said they needed documentation that showed there was a class scheduled for the lab.
Then I remembered I had the receipt for the class in my backpack, printed on university stationary. It had the class, the instructor's name, room number and every other piece of information needed to prove that the lab should be open.
One of the security guys looked at my receipt for the class and said, "You could have just printed this out at home. Anyone can make this stuff nowadays."
The instructor pointed to some campus class brochures in the hall and had his photograph, name and the date and time of the class printed on them.
"I'm sorry. That's good enough," the security guys said again.
"Yeah," I muttered under my breath, "We probably just printed them off at home."
We went back and forth with campus security for ten more minutes trying to prove that we really belonged in the room but to no avail. Campus security would not open the door and the instructor was finally forced to call the class.
My favorite part of the whole exchange was how the security guys kept saying "I understand" to everything we said.
"I understand you want to get in the room."
"I understand this is frustrating for you."
"I understand you can't teach the class without computers."
It's great they're trained to understand, but would it hurt these guys to think a little? If we were intent on stealing from the university's computer lab, do you think we'd call campus security to let us in?
What was the most frustrating about the whole incident wasn't the fact that security guys didn't have a brain, but that class was canceled. This is a fairly intense class and I'd much rather have a makeup day then try to cram the missed material over the next few weeks.
I hope we don't have this problem tomorrow night.