Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

Are tougher security measures needed on college campuses?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The recent incident where a 26-year-old woman passed herself off as a Columbia University student shows how lax security can be at many colleges and universities.

Birva Patel had been posing as a third-year biomedical engineering student since December 2011. She went unnoticed by the authorities until several Columbia students reported her for suspicious behavior in late August.


While she was seen inside various campus buildings, sleeping in lounges or walking down the hallways without attending any classes, no one thought to call authorities. Without a Columbia ID or key, Patel entered the buildings by asking other students to open the doors for her. Or, she simply blended in with a large crowd when entering the building.

There are multiple ways of increasing security, including cameras and metal detectors, but the easiest and most effective way to strengthen campus security is to encourage students to remain alert, an article in The Wellesley News points out. “If a student sees anyone who doesn’t belong, or if their gut reaction tells them that something is not quite right, they should report it to the campus police,” The News adds.

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A month-old security policy at Emerson College, called Tap and Go already has some off-campus students raising safety and usability concerns.

Under the new system, everyone entering an Emerson campus building must tap their IDs or be signed in. The policy also mandates that the outside doors of residence halls be locked automatically, requiring a campus ID to enter, according to a report in the Berkeley Beacon.

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College students enjoy a number of perks and discounts thanks to their university affiliation, with one of the most common discounts, particularly for urban campuses being public transit.

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The University of Kentucky’s security management system has been recognized with an innovation award at the Secured Cities Conference held in Baltimore, Maryland. The university’s system was implemented alongside Louisville’s Biagi Chance Cummins London Titzer, Inc. (BCCLT) engineering consulting firm, and has won the 2014 Security Innovation Award (SIA) by Secured Cities.

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Students at Williams College are swapping their mag stripe student IDs for a new, combined mag stripe and proximity credential.

The new IDs will be used to gain access to building and study rooms on campus both during and after hours.

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