In an effort to boost campus security at Chicago’s Columbia College, a new access control pilot is being tested that is requiring students and faculty to present their IDs before entering campus-owned buildings.
Per a report from The Columbia Chronicle, the pilot began shortly after the new year, and after receiving positive feedback from the college community, was extended to include additional campus buildings this month. The pilot’s initial buildings were chosen due to the layout of their lobbies — notably they had one entrance and saw high volumes of student, faculty, staff and visitor traffic.
Columbia College sits in the heart of downtown Chicago, and faces the same physical access challenges that often befall campuses in metropolitan settings. In addition to the need to better lockdown campus buildings, the new pilot will also help deter thefts that have been common in some of the college’s buildings.
One department in particular that has willingly participated in the pilot is the college’s theater department, where property thefts have been somewhat prevalent. The pilot program would provide greater security for students and the theatre department’s property, and also make it easier to identify students and guests in the building.
While checking IDs at the door won’t entirely deter theft, it will at least introduce a level of accountability and link visitors to an identity should they attempt to steal student or university property.
The college is in the process of evaluating where to expand the program next. It’s a less that straightforward proposition, however, as the program could face logistical challenges in certain buildings based on the layouts of lobbies, the number of entrances and the amount of foot traffic.
As for beyond the four walls of a campus building, Columbia College employs a security team that patrols the campus with one security vehicle, as well as by foot, on bike or Segway depending on the weather. The college has also recruited eight part-time security officers with backgrounds ranging from the Chicago Police Department to the security positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago.