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By Susan Carroll
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 26, 1998

CatCard faces more problems

Although the UA community is futilely searching their CatCards for something that identifies them as either a student or a staff member, university officials maintain the decision to exclude such a mark was not a mistake.

"We intentionally didn't put 'faculty,' 'staff' or 'student' on the cards," CatCard Director Liz Taylor said yesterday. "Frankly, there's not a big difference if I give out the Social Security number or status of a person."

CatCard officials decided in January to exclude the mark, a move far preceding the University of Arizona's entanglement with the law after it disclosed card holders' Social Security numbers to two commercial vendors.

The magnetic strip on the back of the new identification cards contains information that identifies the holder's university affiliation.

"The intent is always that the strip on the back will be read," said Faculty Chairman Jerry Hogle. "It's (lack of status distinction) a problem - it's much tougher to correct than purging the records of MCI and Saguaro Credit Union."

Taylor said privacy issues and frequent student and faculty status changes stopped the office from putting an identifier on the face of the card.

But some university departments and campus-area merchants say the lack of a speedy way to differentiate between students and staff poses problems.

"We don't know what we're going to do," said Darlene Sprigg, ticket sales manager at the McKale Ticket Office. "We'll lose a lot of revenue - I know that."

Students are admitted free to all campus sporting events except men's basketball and football, but faculty are required to pay for their tickets.

The ticket office is now letting everyone associated with UA into baseball games for free because no identifying system is in place, Taylor said.

Sprigg said each department that needs CatCard scanning equipment will have to purchase it themselves.

The UA Associated Students Bookstore and Parking and Transportation Services are part of a "long list" of groups having problems with the new cards, Taylor said.

She said CatCard employees are working to develop an electronic card-scanning system that should be available in two weeks.

Cmdr. Brian Seastone, a university police spokesman, said officers will not scan the strips when they need to verify university affiliation, but will be able to get the information through dispatchers with access to a computer.

Identifying student and faculty status is posing a problem for businesses that offer special discounts.

Juanita Williams, assistant director of the Tucson Convention Center, said a discount offered to students for plays and Icecats hockey games has also posed problems.

"If a person has a University of Arizona ID, that will be appropriate (to get a discount)," Williams said.

Although faculty members get a break at TCC, they may run into problems with local vendors.

Zip's Music, 946 E. University Blvd., offers $1 discounts to faculty members. Manager Sonny Anderson said a lack of distinction on the cards puts the company in a "gray area" to offer the discount.

"It will have to come down to a personal decision," Anderson said, referring to how people carry themselves - if they appear to be faculty.He said Zip's will consider creating its own faculty card, independent of the UA's IDs.

Other vendors, like Funtasticks, 221 E. Wetmore Road, and Delissimo, 749 N. Park Ave., offer student and faculty discounts and may have to revamp their policies.

"Our card was intended to be an internal card," Taylor said. "The purpose is not to give information to outside vendors. What we're saying to these vendors is come in and talk to us because we want to hear why they offer discounts to some people at the university and not others."

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