The University of Texas is restricting access to on-campus buildings for those without a UT ID card. The new access policies will lock down most campus buildings from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am, permitting access to only those with a valid student ID card.
The university’s previous access privileges permitted non-cardholders to enter campus buildings until 11:45 pm, including weekends, but those policies were reviewed following the tragic murder of a student on campus last year. In that case, a UT freshman was assaulted and killed by a non-student as she walked from a campus building back to her dorm after hours. In March, following a safety review conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety, about 80 campus buildings were updated to the new access restrictions, including 34 general classroom buildings.
Despite estimates that it would take years to update all of the campus’ buildings, most of the university’s 184 buildings and all of its general-purpose classroom buildings now feature restricted after-hours access. After 7:00 pm, exterior entrances to buildings are locked, and can only be opened with a valid UT student or staff ID card.
The new access control policies are, in part, designed to better lock down campus facilities from the high volume of tourists that visit the University of Texas, and the need to ensure that only students and members of the campus community are able to access university buildings. The new policies will also make it easier for university officials to identify who is accessing campus facilities after hours.
The University of Texas isn’t alone in prohibiting non-cardholder building access after-hours. Some institutions have even taken things a step further by closing campus buildings at night and denying access to students altogether.
According to The Brown and White, Lehigh University closes its libraries and academic buildings to students after certain hours. Despite student complaints the university doesn’t expect the hours to change, citing similar concerns to that of UT regarding non-student access to campus facilities.
At the University of Texas, campus officials are still determining hours of service for common-use buildings. The university’s decision to restrict building access at night is just one of several other security measures — including increased police presence, surveillance cameras and campus lighting — that the university is taking to improve student safety.