Campus Security: Not Your Average Challenge

Providing adequate security for college and university campuses is a much more difficult task than it is for other types of facilities, such as business buildings. While most businesses run during normal business hours, students come and go freely on a...


Providing adequate security for college and university campuses is a much more difficult task than it is for other types of facilities, such as business buildings. While most businesses run during normal business hours, students come and go freely on a 24-hour basis in many residence halls, and many campuses offer late-night services in their libraries, sports facilities, labs and student unions. The turnover is also much higher than in the business world, with scores of students joining and leaving the school each semester.
Prospective students and their parents add to the daily entourage of on-campus traffic, in parking lots and throughout nearly every facility. Add to this intramural sports, which bring off-campus teams, fans and vendors to the properties; and college parties that attract friends and strangers from near and far; and the well-intentioned security strategies start to unravel.
In the past, schools used laminated picture ID cards for student validation, library checkout and bookstore and student discounts. Off-duty police officers or contract security personnel were hired often as the sole eyes and ears of the school's security solution.
Many postsecondary schools still use the same systems to protect students, faculty and staff, but many campuses are now turning to electronic solutions, including access control, CCTV and emergency phones, in addition to manned patrol. One of the more popular solutions on the rise is the one-card system, which can accommodate a variety of tasks and services, including building access, student debit accounts for meal plans and laundry, bookstore purchases and library privileges.
Let's take a look at how three universities-the University of Louisville, a state-funded school; the University of Tampa, a privately funded school; and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a privately funded specialty school-face similar challenges, with existing buildings laid out on sprawling campuses.

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