In an effort to boost security on campus, USC’s Department of Public Safety plans to limit after-hours access to some University Park Campus buildings by December.
The new access control system will require students, faculty and staff to swipe their ID cards at nine classroom buildings after 6 p.m., which also allows DPS to monitor people going in or coming out of the buildings.
The system is an attempt to improve student safety on campus, according to Shane Hapuarachy, DPS special project manager.
“The buildings we chose have a lot of petty thefts going on in them,” Hapuarachy said. “The main point of the system is to limit access.”
The system will be installed in Von KleinSmid Center, Grace Ford Salvatori Hall, Taper Hall, the Social Sciences Building, Hoffman Hall, Waite Phillips Hall, Vivian Hall, Watt Hall and Kaprielian Hall. DPS plans to have the system running by Dec. 1, Hapuarachy said.
The buildings will remain open during regular school hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. After that, students, faculty and staff will have to use their ID cards to enter the buildings until 11 p.m. Department heads will also be able to authorize others so they can have access to the buildings at all hours.
According to Hapuarachy, access control is not a new concept for the university. Currently, USC has similar systems on nearly all Health Science Campus buildings, all UPC dormitory buildings and several other USC-owned
DPS had originally planned to put access card readers on eight buildings at the UPC, but a reconfigured budget allowed it to add one more to the list.
“We already rolled out this project at Health Sciences, and we kept the same crew, so people became more efficient,” Hapuarachy said.
The system notifies DPS if a door is left propped open after hours or if someone without authorization has broken into the building. It also allows DPS to keep a record of those who go in and out of the buildings, in case a crime occurs.
DPS Capt. David Carlisle said students will still have to be
careful, because piggybacking — when someone holds doors open for people who may not have authorization to enter — could still be an issue.
In case of an emergency situation, the system will also allow DPS to lock the buildings automatically.
“If a Virginia Tech shooter situation occurred, we would be able to lock the buildings,” said Hapuarachy, referring to the incident in 2007 when a college student opened fire at the Virginia Tech campus.
Students said they appreciate the steps USC is taking to make them feel safer on campus.
“It will make students feel more comfortable using the classroom buildings for club meetings or study groups,” said Christie Tcharkhoutian, a senior majoring in psychology and music industry.
But some are concerned that the new system could result in overcrowded libraries, especially during finals week, because other buildings will not be available for studying.
“I usually go to VKC whenever I have a study group, and I know a lot of people tend to stay there until midnight or later,” said Diana Lee, a junior majoring in communication. “So closing at 11 p.m. will just make Leavey [Library] even more chaotic.”
Carlisle said DPS is always
looking for ways to improve safety on campus.
“This is one of many programs we’ve considered, along with video technology, and adding more coverage around USC,” he said. “It’s an overall initiative that will always be evolving.”