Key card readers installed in Towers residence halls


card readers
Key card scanners are located at the elevator doors around the Towers residence halls for students to swipe in.

In Summer 2017, Central Michigan University implemented a multi-year plan to install key card readers on residence hall doors.

“CMU is always looking to make improvements for our students and this new security measure helps to promote a safer campus,” said Jonathan Webb, associate vice president of Facilities Management. 

The electronic access controls have been added to the Towers Residence Halls as part of a collaborative effort among the CMU Police Department, Residence Life, Facilities Management and the Office of Information Technology. Readers will be installed in one residential community every summer. 

Electronic access controls have been placed along the outside of stairways and elevators in the Towers. Students must enter through Kulhavi Hall and Kessler Hall doors between the hours of 10 p.m and 7 a.m. 

This new security system requires Central Card access, meaning residents must carry their CMU ID at all times. 

“We chose the Towers because it is our largest residential community,” said Kathleen Gardner, director of Residence Life.

If a student opens any other door after 10 p.m, an alarm will sound, notifying nearby residents and staff that a door has been opened. 

Though these card readers are a small adjustment, the changes have had a huge impact on students, said Brandice Wheatley, a Wheeler Hall Resident Assistant. She believes the new system adds to the hassle of signing a student in. 

“I think it’s an extra step I shouldn’t have to take (having to swipe in),” the Chicago junior said. “If I’m an RA and someone needs a key-in and I leave my ID in my RHD’s office, then I have to run back and get my ID because I can’t get on the elevator to do the key-in.”

The electronic access implemented in the Towers is not the first CMU has seen. It emulates the system used in Graduate Housing apartments, but with heavier restrictions like the elevator and door alarms. 

In addition to residence halls, many classrooms have had emergency locks installed. The controls allow for anyone to exit, however, entrance is denied with a red indicator signaling the locks function.

The Towers has undergone Phase I of construction and will undergo Phase II this summer. More interior access controls will be placed in residence communities across campus. Access controls will be added to the exterior and interior doors of halls. 

Lt. Mike Sienkiewicz of the CMUPD noted the importance of safety. 

“CMUPD’s priority is keeping people safe,” Sienkiewicz said. “The addition of access control technology adds an additional layer of security in keeping the residential areas safe and secure for residents and their guests.

Safety comes with an inconvenience for some, but we feel this project strikes a good balance between safety and maintaining a sense of community for the residents in these areas.” 

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