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Letter to the editor: Huston Huffman Fitness Center rudely enforces ID policy

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The Huff

OU's Huston Huffman Fitness Center Oct. 18, 2015. Management information systems sophomore Luke Burchard was "refused entry" into the huff with his old student ID.

Letter to the editor:

In the secret book of OU rules and guidelines, specifically in 1 Boren 10:25, it is stated, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an OU student to enter into the Huston Huffman Fitness Center.” The staff at the Huff adheres to this policy quite strictly.

On the evening of Feb. 11, all I wanted to do was have a fun time playing my intramural mixed doubles racquetball game and then go home and study.

The Huff staff did everything in their power to make sure this couldn’t happen. I walked into the Huff carrying my old student ID and a competitive spirit for my racquetball match. When I tried to swipe the ID, it was declined, as I had recently purchased a new ID. Unfortunately, the staff refused me entry into the facility. I was given the option of paying an $8.50 guest fee or be forced to leave the building.

All I needed was admittance into the facility for a 20-minute racquetball game in an intramural system, which wouldn’t have allowed me to enter a tournament without first proving that I was a student.

Nevertheless, I was refused entry in the rudest manner possible, left to go get my current ID, with the audible scoffing of the student-worker staff at my heels. 

When I came back into the Huff after acquiring my current ID, I swiped through the turnstile without a problem. I ventured downstairs to begin playing my game, when two employees, the same two who had the problem with me entering previously, removed me from the middle of the game and asked how I entered the facility.

Obviously angered when I told them I simply swiped in, they impolitely asked to see the ID I used to enter with, as if I had just improperly entered Fort Knox, rabid to rid the impurity from the high and mighty fitness facility. I continued playing my game for at least 10 minutes, when they came back and announced to my confused opponents and I, that my ID was invalid. Confused, I went upstairs to the front desk and asked the employees to scan my ID. When they did I was told my card was "Invalid for use as a guest pass," which was obviously what the front two employees, who were trying to remove me from the facility, had instructed them to respond when I attempted to swipe it again.

Side note: a little known fact about the Huff is an ID can only be used to swipe in once every few hours to prevent students from passing their ID to companions without identification at the same time, so when I swiped my ID at the turnstile a second time, it didn't work. Not wanting to fight anymore, I returned downstairs, retrieved my belongings and left the facility, which is the end of my story of this bad Huff experience.

According to the Huff entrance policy, "OU Norman Students must have their valid, working Sooner Card Student ID" in order to enter the Huff. The fact that a facility requires all current OU students, regardless of grade level, to have their ID is not only inconvenient, but also a sign of the laziness demonstrated by the staff. Instead of having a simple, easy-to-implement system where students can enter their ID numbers, entry is entirely based on a small, easy to misplace card.

The student fees paid every semester to use the Huff obviously aren’t used for upkeep of the facility, so why can’t these fees be budgeted to improve the entrance procedures? There is no excuse for a policy that refuses students who are forced to pay fees for upkeep and have every right to use it, entrance into a facility. 

If OU wants to continue to set the standard of excellence, which it has set, the Huff must undergo changes. This facility exists to serve students, however, it seems like Huff and its staff has lost that vision. It breaks my heart to see a university I love so much be so lacking in an area which affects numerous students, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background or other class distinctions.

When a consistently rude staff implements policies, which greatly restrict student usage, it is no longer serving students, which is the purpose of the facility to begin with. Hopefully change in this area will come soon.

Luke Burchard, management information systems sophomore

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