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A growing number of college campuses are using controlled access to protect their students and the campus grounds. In 1990, the Jeanne Clery Act was passed, which required all colleges to provide any information about crimes occurring on their grounds and their efforts to eradicate this crime. They are also required to support victims of circumstances such as domestic violence, sexual assault, etc. and provide them with resources.

Having their actions scrutinized by the public layered on the pressure, and many colleges acted accordingly by increasing levels of security and protection for their staff and students. However, they face unique challenges in doing so. Colleges and universities must not only be secure, but provide a welcoming, community-like environment. Colleges have to make allowance for students’ family members, friends and members of the general public to access certain areas of the college at pre-determined times, or even throughout the day.

While there are various controlled access systems on the market, in most cases it is up to a college to determine what type of system would be the best fit with the educational institution’s needs, services, and budget. The following overview of various options can help colleges know what is available in terms of controlled access construction and equipment.

Securing Doors

Many colleges and universities are adapting doors that require students to have a card key in order to enter any door on the campus. Colleges that get a large number of visitors typically issue special card keys to enable individuals to access certain areas, but not others. This system tends to work well for large educational institutions and a badge has, in some cases, been used as an alternative to a card key.

On the other hand, small colleges may want to consider following the example of a top-tier college that opted to not install key card access on small, side doors that students typically used as shortcuts to get to and from classes. In place of key card access, alarms were installed on these doors and these alarms went off if the doors were left open and unsecured for over ten seconds. Security personnel then arrived to close and secure the doors to prevent intrusion.

Securing a Parking Area

Most colleges have a parking area and many find that tens of thousands of cars may come in and out of the parking area on a weekly or monthly basis. BYU recently opted to control parking access using an automatic license plate recognition system. This particular system was part of a security system that offered other controlled access features and amenities, making it an ideal security solution for a large university.

Other colleges, however, are turning to low-tech, but by no means ineffective, security measures. These include installing bright lighting, painting interior walls surrounding the parking area with bright colors to reflect light, and installing glass elevators and towers on college campus buildings to ensure that the parking lot is clearly visible to numerous individuals at any given time. Such a system may not control access but it does discourage intruders from entering campus grounds.

Securing any college is sure to be challenging; however, an educational institution can tackle the challenges it faces one step at a time by choosing an area to secure, finding the most effective controlled access system, installing it, and teaching faculty members and students how to use it properly. Doing so will help make college not only a great learning experience, but also a safe environment where students can enjoy focusing on their studies and relaxing with friends. Reach out to Schiller if you’d like to talk to someone about making your campus more secure.

about the author: Scott Wesley

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