University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Getting Access to University Buildings

Policy Statement

All keys and access control devices for University of Minnesota buildings are the property of the University. Any additions or modifications, including upgrading to electronic access control, must comply with the University design standards from the department of Capital Planning and Project Management (CPPM). The addition of equipment or altering equipment that circumvents the existing security without compliance to the CPPM standards is strictly prohibited.

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 Facilities Representative (DFR) 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.

Students, faculty, and staff are required to carry their University issued U Card when in University buildings outside of public hours. A U Card is valid only for currently enrolled students or currently employed faculty or staff members. The U Card must be presented upon request by law enforcement, security personnel, or a University employee acting within the purview of their job responsibilities. Anyone in a University building that is unable to present a valid U Card outside of public hours may be asked to leave. Refusal to comply could result in arrest and/or trespass from University property. Additional restrictions or requirements may apply to areas deemed to have a higher security standard.

Each campus must designate 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 DFR list. See Site-Specific Access Information appendix.

Reason for Policy

This policy implements and aligns with Board of Regents Policy: Health and Safety (PDF). 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)Nick Raymakers612-626-2936[email protected]
Access ServicesDepartment of Public Safety612-624-1750[email protected]
CrookstonDave Danforth218-281-8490[email protected]
DuluthDawna Carlberg
Eric Freberg
[email protected]
[email protected]
MorrisRobert Velde320-589-6000[email protected]
RochesterVirginia Wright-Peterson507-258-8236[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Vice President for University Services
  • Vice President for Finance and Operations and Budget Director
  • Police Chief
  • Associate Vice President - Facilities Management
  • Ryan Mullaney
    Security Operations Supervisor
  • Jeff Lessard
    Director of the Public Safety Emergency Communication Center


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 Public Safety, 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 Facility Representative. 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 Facility Representative (DFR)

For purposes of this policy, the DFR 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 Site-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 supplier, 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.

Public Hours

Designated hours, varying by facility, when any individual may enter a building without the use of a key or U Card. All hours outside of Public Hours may be designated University Hours (any current student, faculty, or staff member may enter with a U Card) or Restricted Hours (only specific occupants of that building may enter with a U Card.)

U Card

The U Card is the official identity authentication card for the University. The U Card is comprised of the physical card, the data and the photograph printed on and/or encoded in the card. The U Card serves as a multi-authentication of identity, and verifies eligibility for discretionary campus services and building access, as may be required by a University department. All students, faculty, and staff must carry their U Card when in a building outside of public hours.


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 Site-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 Site-Specific Access Information webpage.

Department Facility Representative (DFR)

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, immediately contacting Card Access Services upon complete termination of card access as well as reporting changes in DFR 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 DFR, a chancellor, dean, director, division head or department head may fulfill these responsibilities.

UMTC Department Facilities Representative 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 Site-Specific Access Information.

Card Access Services

Approves all new access control systems and modifications to existing systems and responsible for all administration of the card access system.

Locksmith Services

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 or upgrades to centrally managed access control that result from violations of this policy or the CPPM design standards by their faculty, staff or students.

Vice President for University Services

Has overall responsibility for safety, physical 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.

Campus, Experiment Station, and Research and Outreach Center Access Compliance Unit/Individual

Approves all new access control systems and modifications to existing systems and serves as the authorized custodian for all keys to facilities on their campus or station. Conducts key control reviews as needed to determine the adherence of 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.

Related Information



January 2020 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revisions. Clarified that the U Card is valid only for currently enrolled students or currently employed faculty or staff members in Policy Statement.


June 2017 - Comprehensive Review, Major Revision, 30 Day Review. 1. Clarifies that law enforcement or security staff have authority to request University identification outside of public hours. 2. Reinforces that change made outside of the University’s building standards are not authorized.


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