UCLA Dining Services is testing a new type of lock that may replace the keypads on dining hall lockers, which were prone to malfunctioning.
Charles Wilcots, associate director of UCLA Dining Services, said the frequency of technical failures in dining hall locker keypad systems increased repair costs and made the lockers unusable for students. The new locks were installed in De Neve dining hall as a pilot program for $7,305.
“The lockers’ current locks were becoming challenging to repair due to the malfunction frequencies,” Wilcots said. “The pilot program’s cost is minimal compared to the costs required to maintain the current system.”
The new locks are double-tiered combination locks rather than electronic keypads. The first tier lists numbers from zero to 30, and the second tier lists the alphabet and a number of additional characters.
Natalia Toscano, a third-year Chicana/o studies and American Indian studies student, said she thinks the combinations are an improvement over the keypads because she experienced frequent malfunctions using the old system.
However, she said she thinks the new locks can be tricky to figure out at first and the provided instructions are unclear.
“There are all these dials and numbers and letters so it looks really intimidating,” she said. “Everybody is having trouble with them, but once you figure it out, it’s actually really easy.”
Vincent Kao, a second-year cognitive science student, said he thinks the new system makes it difficult to unlock lockers that have been mistakenly locked.
With the old system lockers that were locked but that were left open could be fixed by pushing in a tab on the inside door of the locker, he said. Now, dials that are unintentionally locked can’t be fixed without assistance from dining hall staff.
Kao added he thinks the new lockers are a security improvement, since a lot of people tend to forget their combinations, and instead use easy-to-guess combinations like 0000.
“Now, it’s much more unlikely that people are going to go through all the number-letter combinations to open someone’s locker, and it’s easier to remember,” Kao said.
Wilcots said UCLA Dining Services plans to replace all the locks at dining locations on the Hill with the new combination locks if De Neve’s pilot program is successful.