It’s a Hard Pass on One Pass

By Carter Roos, Staff Writer

For most of us, this statement is very straightforward — something we’re likely to agree with. If you’re reading this, chances are that at some point in your time at Xavier you’ve used your ALL Card three times a day to swipe into the Caf, then another three times or so to get into your dorm and maybe once or twice to get into a building or pay for your coffee. For first- years, however, it probably sounds like a pretty bold claim to make, considering you’ve likely never had an ALL Card due to Xavier’s recent push to remove physical ALL Cards from circulation. 

While the idea to transition away from the physical ALL Card towards the digital-only One Pass in order to reduce plastic waste, save money and ensure students always have their ID is nice in theory, it also comes with some glaring issues. Having your access to campus facilities tied to a valuable object such as your phone, the obvious lack of preparation for this transition on part of the university and the failure of many functions advertised by Xavier and Transact as part of the new One Pass system are all problems. 

The first issue with this new system is the problematic nature of having your primary university access tied to a desirable item — your phone. While theft is not a particularly prevalent concern on campus itself, there is no denying that it is much more likely for a cell phone to be stolen than a student ID. A cell phone has an inherent and recognized value in today’s society while a student ID does not, making it far more likely that an unattended or misplaced phone will be stolen when compared to an ALL Card. 

Furthermore, under the ALL Card system, a student who lost their ALL Card would still have access to their phone in order to contact a roommate in a pinch or could visit  Auxiliary Services in order to procure a replacement card. With the One Pass system, however, a student who loses their phone, and by association, their ID, is locked out of many buildings on campus and is also unable to contact campus services or other students, leaving them stranded in the event that the Auxiliary Services office is closed.

Another issue with the transition to One Pass is that the university appears to be completely unprepared for these changes. 

Beyond posting flyers in residence halls and adding a few informational slides to the Xavier website, it appears that nothing has been done to recognize the change or modernize school policies. The policy guidebook on Xavier’s website, for example, still refers to the ALL Card as Xavier’s “approved identification card” while also stating that the university “issues one ALL Card to individuals recognized as being affiliated with the institution.” It is also worth noting that this document has not been updated since 2018, and yet seems to be the only source of official policy on university IDs. 

The digital ALL Cards associated with the One Pass system also notably lack a student ID number, which is not only important for many functions on campus, but also is listed in the ALL Card policy document as information that will be present on every iteration of the ALL Card. 

Finally, many features of the One Pass system do not work how they were advertised. 

Firstly, the basic functions such as unlocking doors have been less than consistent in many residence hall card readers, sometimes requiring students to scan their phone multiple times to enter. The “increased security” advertised by both Xavier and Transact — the company responsible for One Pass — is not elaborated on, so it is unclear how the new system is more secure. 

What is explained on Transact’s website, however, is the capability of their system to track and predict student movements on campus, so rest assured that your data is being collected, analyzed and utilized by a third-party. 

The “power reserve” function designed to keep your One Pass functional after your phone dies was a promising solution to some issues the One Pass presents, but like many other aspects of the One Pass, falls short and doesn’t work at all on some devices. 

While the ability to have ALL Card functionality tied to your phone is nice, it is clearly not ready to be rolled out yet. Even if it was, there is no compelling reason not to issue a traditional ALL Card alongside the electronic system. 

We as a university should take a step back and consider the ramifications of this change and the message it sends about our community, or at least properly prepare for its introduction, before making a change to such a central facet of campus life.