Getting Access to University Buildings
Responsible University Officer: Vice President for University Services
Policy Owner: Director, Department of Central Security
Policy Contact: Chuck Way


All keys and access control devices for University of Minnesota buildings are the property of the University.

Campuses, departments and units are required to manage all keys and access control devices held by their employees. This includes the possession, issuance, and storage of all keys and access control devices. Each campus, department or unit will have a Department Access Coordinator (DAC) to enforce this policy at the local level.

Individuals are prohibited from unauthorized possession, use, duplication and changes to keys or access control devices. Individuals are also prohibited from bracing open doors equipped with access control devices. Violators of this policy will be subject to disciplinary actions from the University or criminal charges where appropriate.

Each campus has designated a unit that enforces compliance with this policy by performing key reviews, directing the production of all keys, requiring all card access and clearance requests in writing and annually updating the DAC list. See Campus Specific Access Information webpage.


This policy implements and aligns with Board of Regents Policy: Health and Safety. It sets minimum access standards that must be maintained throughout the University to protect the University's property and assets and to maximize personal safety; and defines door access systems and procedures for University facilities to ensure authorized access.

Providing proper access will help the University achieve its educational, research and employment goals by promoting personal health and safety, ensure that liability exposure is adequately controlled and minimized, and allow those involved in granting and gaining access to understand their individual responsibilities.

Primary Contact(s)
Chuck Way
Access Services
Department of Central Security
Richard Connell
Kevin Claus
Jennifer Lund
Gail Sauter


Access Control
Control of entry/exit to an area by any means (mechanical or electronic), divided into four categories:
  • Mechanical Key System - Any mechanical device used to operate a mechanically controlled mechanism for entry/exit to a controlled area. These locks typically operate with the Building Master key.
  • Specialized Security Key Systems - Any specialized security lock or change of keying for special areas which utilize a manual/mechanical or electrical push-button, combination lock, with key-override. Also any individual application using a specialized key core that is not operable with the building master keying system.
  • Key Storage Systems - An access control system designed for building access, used by service departments or police/fire personnel.
  • Card Access Control Systems - A high capacity computerized card access control system, either designed with the capability for central system administration by the Department of Central Security, or of a stand-alone type designed for independent administration by a department. An electronic or electro-mechanical device replaces or supplements mechanical key access and the University U-Card is used to unlock doors. Access to specific internal building doors by individuals is determined by the Department Access Coordinator. The system provides entry access to various doors within a building and enables automatic locking and unlocking of specific doors or groups of doors at prearranged times during the day. In buildings with no building manager, Facilities Management or Plant Services can make requests for building locks and unlocks.
Access Control File
Critical records maintained at campus level. Includes such items as key codes, key copy numbers, and Access Control database as well as departmental control access data.
Department Access Coordinator (DAC)
For purposes of this policy, the DAC is the term used to describe an employee appointed by the Chancellor, Dean, Director, Division Head, or Department Head to be responsible for the adherence and implementation of this policy. This role has a variety of titles, dependent on the campus. See Campus Specific Access Information webpage.
Any mechanical device used to operate a mechanically controlled mechanism for entry/exit to a controlled area.
Key Coding
Numerical combinations which control the variety of keys a department uses without jeopardizing access control.
Key/Card Holder
Any University employee, student, volunteer, alumnus, outside vendor, or visitor authorized to be in the possession of an access device.
Key Storage
An access control system designed for building access, used by service departments or police/fire personnel. Examples include fire lock boxes, enterprise key management, district key boxes, department key storage, elevator lock boxes and Building System Automation Center (BSAC) key boxes on the Twin Cities campus.
U Card
Comprised of the physical card, the data, and the photograph printed on and/or encoded in the card. Serves as a multi-authentication of identity, and verifies eligibility for discretionary campus services (such as calling card and ATM card services) and building access, as may be required by a University department.


All University personnel
Sign documentation recording the issuance of the access control device. Maintain, secure and be responsible for any access control device(s) issued. Report loss or theft of access control keys and U Cards to the DAC or local authority (see Campus Specific Access Information). Loss of keys should be reported within 24 hours of discovery of theft or loss. Return all keys issued to the DAC upon terminating from the department.
Chancellors, Deans, Directors, Division Heads, and Department Heads
Communicate this policy and procedure to affected staff, faculty, and students, support programs implementing this policy and provides resources for units to comply with this policy. Campus specific details are available at the Campus Specific Access Information webpage.
Department Access Coordinator (DAC) (aka Department Area Coordinator)
This role is responsible for maintaining accurate records of all access control activities, ordering and issuing all access control keys, recovering University keys from personnel who are terminated or transferred to another department, returning unassigned departmental access control keys in a timely and secure manner, submitting card access and clearance level requests, as well as reporting changes in DAC status.
This role is called a Department Area Coordinator at UMM. This role is fulfilled by the UMR Assistant Vice Chancellor's office and by Facilities Management at UMC. In absence of the DAC, a chancellor, dean, director, division head or department head may fulfill these responsibilities.
UMTC Department Access Coordinator authorizes after hours locksmith and access control services.
Campus Specific Access Compliance Unit
Oversees the service program for access systems and maintains access control files for the campus. Directs the fabrication of all keys for campus spaces, mechanical access control, and specialized security keys and manages a service program for all maintenance and repair work regarding mechanical and electronic access systems. See Campus Specific Access Information.
Department of Central Security
Approves all new access control systems and modifications to existing systems and serves as the authorized custodian for all keys to University of Minnesota facilities. Conducts key control reviews on UMTC as needed to determine the adherence to this policy and establishes procedures to govern issuance and control of keys. Maintains and updates key information in University Building Fire Lock boxes. Consults with University partners concerning records of keys lost or stolen.
Responsible for all re-keying costs resulting from violations of this policy by their faculty, staff or students.
Vice President for University Services
Has overall responsibility for safety, security and emergency response functions at the University, as delegated by the President. Provides resources, support and funding to facilitate the University's compliance with this policy.


April 2012 - Comprehensive Review. Clarified Policy Statement, Definitions and Responsibilities. Updated Contacts section with campus contacts from all campuses.
September 2008 - Clarified Policy Statement and Reason. Added definition for "Key holder"; clarified responsibilities for Individual Departments and Vice President for University Services. Assigned system campus Access Control Directors in responsibilities.
May 2005 - Updated Contacts, Related Information, Responsibilities and Requesting Access to Buildings procedure since the U locksmith and card access is now under Public Safety and not Facilities Management. References to the Department Access/Key Coordinator have been made consistent throughout the policy. Responsible Office changed from Facilities Management to Department of Central Security.
September 2000 - Updated Contacts, Definitions, Responsibilities and Requesting Access to Buildings procedure, to take into account the situation in Duluth, when it is different than the situation in the Twin Cities.
November 1999

Document Feedback

Date Revised

April 2012

Date Effective

November 1999