Protecting University Campus’: Access Control

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University accommodation holds a lot of negative connotations for both parents and students, and recent news stories have no reassured anyone. For example, a video that went viral earlier this year recorded students at Nottingham Trent University chanting racist comments in front of the door of another student in their university accommodation (halls).

A recent video that was released on social media by Rufaro Chisango highlighted the potential danger of living in university accommodation. Thankfully, with the advancements in technology and the implementation of access control systems in university halls, Rufaro was physically safe from any threat. But now, expectations must be higher to ensure that this type of behaviour, or risk, does not happen again.

Here, 2020 Vision find out why access control systems are vital for the protection of students around Britain and how they can improve a student’s overall wellbeing during their university life.

Why are access control systems crucial in university accommodation?

When it comes to installing access control systems, there are two main functionalities that can be taken advantage of. The first has a more basic yet effective approach and can enable or prevent someone from entering or exiting a location — this could range from the whole site, a wing of a building, or a singular room that needs protecting from unauthorised personnel.

The latter enables internal systems to track movements around a location while also allowing audits around compliance to be complete. It can also detect any areas where improvements could be necessary.

Key cards and identity tags are used to enter secured areas of university halls. The purpose of having such security measures in place is to help protect students from unauthorised access, which could potentially threaten their wellbeing or put their possessions at risk.

As the cost of living in halls of residence at university continue to increase, students have greater expectations around living standards and home safety as they’re essentially moving into an enclosed environment with strangers. According to a survey carried out by Save The Student, the average cost of renting is £131 per week, which leaves students with £8 to live on after deducting the payment from their maintenance loan.

Student safety should be a huge priority for student campuses and accommodation providers. Although university culture does play a large part on student life, excessive and unordinary behaviour is not acceptable. It was found that 52% of students have noisy housemates, 37% of housemates steal food (considered as theft), 8% have dangerous living conditions, and an astonishing 6% have experienced a break in or a burglary.

Because of this, more people believe that their chosen residence is poor value for the price they pay. Now, there is a demand for larger investments into suffering areas — accommodation providers are under extreme amounts of pressure to make changes otherwise they could encounter detrimental damages that will impact them in the long run.

What are the benefits of access control?

By placing access control systems across campus, there will be plenty of benefits off the back of it. Evidently from the story above discussing the racist chants, it has become critical to ensure the safety and protection of young people as unsolicited actions can be carried out without any prior detection.

Now, some accommodation providers have taken reasonable steps to allow prospective students to select the type of living environment they’d like to be in, whether this is covering gender, age and drinking preferences.  However, there are still many faults. Universities should be looking at implementing more personal options that enable young people to properly filter down the type of roommates they are looking for — such as language, religion, race, and more to create a safer and more familiar environment for all.

Neutralising Key Cards — University accommodation keys, unlike regular keys, cannot be duplicated which means that once a student has left, each card can be deactivated. This removes the risk of any unauthorised entry and heightens the safety of the new tenant after the previous lease is up.

Limited Access — Using access control systems will only grant the right students access to certain areas of the accommodation premises. As they require the swipe of a unique key card for entry permissions which are given only to students, this will make it difficult for anyone other those who are enrolled as residents to enter.

A Close Eye — Monitoring is something that should be looked at even closer; which traditional methods can’t do reliably. Using access control systems and key cards, this can all be documented and easily accessed when needed.

Advanced Credentials — Students in particular are avid users of smartphones and now, locked areas can be accessed through the use of such device as credentials are able stored safely; this is an extremely important new feature as smartphones are very rarely out of the hands of young people.

Enhanced security is essential across university accommodation here in the UK and can even be utilised for invacuation and dynamic lockdown processes in a bid to create a safer living environment for young students. This can also help reduce the risks that come with fast-moving incidents (firearm attacks etc).

It’s important to make the right changes to make sure your accommodation building is as protected as possible? You can’t put a price on safety.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-43328566

http://www.net-ctrl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AAAC_Discussion_Paper_Students_fv-1.pdf

https://www.savethestudent.org/accommodation/national-student-accommodation-survey-2018.html

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