The Coin: Big Brother is Watching: Boardingware’s Faults

Change is never wanted, but at times the undeniable truth is that it is needed. This, I believe that most of you humble souls could agree with. A change in policy, a system of governance, or the annoying new software update on the iPhone are all things that create annoyance at the beginning. But it most, if not all, all the time begets a better way of life in the end. This is of course is not at all what the Boardingware system has done for Western Reserve Academy. Agony, confusion, and an overall sense of “why” has been the sentiment both whispered about and that which has resulted in heated arguments due to the inception of Boardingware.

Although a novel idea, Boardingware has promised so much, yet fails to deliver on nothing but a more digital version of a system that was already in place beforehand. This has left your poor, stressed out Reserve student—who has to deal with those two tests tomorrow—in a state of utter confusion and bafflement every day during study hours. Is it really too much to ask that we not be burdened down more than we have to? Sure, one could acquiesce to this new Boardingware system if it ameliorated the the current system—which had been faithfully working for as long as alumni could remember—but if it does nothing but incite undue befuddlement in students. I, for one, can not see why the mandate to go digital was decreed in the first place. What was a unique sentiment on a revised way to check in, Boardingware has proven to be a circumstance that was not fully thought out.

The students have not been the only victims to the increased bureaucracy issued in by Boardingware, as the changing school administration has introduced a contraption that has also left hardworking teachers and dorm parents confounded. These are people that dedicate their life to the art of education, and for many of them the Boardingware has presented them with unnecessary complications that bar them from educating students with the ease that they should deserve.

When the new system was first introduced, bewilderment ran rampant among the student body on how to properly exercise oneself on the machine. So rife with imminent disorder was North that, from that day forward, dorm duty staff have been personally checking in students on their own personal laptops. This of course proves to be, no way a change in how check in was executed during the years that the reliable, and dependable system of normal check was in effect. In fact, in North the ‘old’ books are still being frequently used by prefects to check people in when now adult is present. Why should we sacrifice the productivity of a dorm, let alone an entire school on sole bases of introducing a digital version of check in that was already working?

In fact it has even proven to be a detriment to the dean’s office! *Gasp* Shocking I know. On January 29th, students had received an email from Mrs. Barth—the AOD that shift—imploring students that had checked out to check back in as Boardingware still had them aimlessly in driving around in Cleveland at 8:25 on a sunday night before school. That trivial issue should not have been a concern to the AOD, they have to be ready for situations that hold more gravitas in the protection and safety of a student. Yet there we were, 8:25pm on a Sunday night trying to appease the machine and making sure it knew where the students were.

Now you may be furiously scratching your head as to why the physical embodiment of a big brother was ever introduced in the first place. Well, me too. It seems to me, Boardingware was first conceptualized as a way to track and monitor the every move of every student. Check in when you go downtown. Check in for day students. Check out for day students. Check in if you are hanging out in another dorm. These are all facets of Boardingware that the administration was looking to add.

When word first got around about boardingware, before its rollout, those new additions induced panic, anger, and confusion among the student body. “Wait, they’re taking away my privacy?” was what I heard from one student, a sentiment that also seemed to echo from many others as I went about the school day. Luckily, this was not the case. Yet I am warning us all, a platform such as Boardingware, which was supposedly created to make study hours more efficient and less confusing, can also be updated to include those dreaded areas of expanded check in. Now more than ever in this growing digital age, tracking people and monitoring a person’s activity has become easier, and there is no guarantee that Boardingware could not also be used for that same purpose. Thus, it is paramount for us to keep the discussion alive. It is up to us to fight for our own privacy. It is up to us realize that a system, like Boardingware, is an extension of society trying to controls us.

-Manas Srinivasaiah ’18

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