New measure requires UT ID for building access for specified restricted hours

Tristan Davantes

In an effort to enhance on-campus safety and security, the University will restrict access to most University buildings to those with a UT ID card after regular hours of operations, starting this academic year. 

The measure was implemented last spring semester after the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted a security vulnerability assessment of the campus in the wake of the on-campus death of theatre and dance freshman Haruka Weiser last April. It requires students, faculty and staff to carry their UT ID cards at all times, said Bob Harkins, associate vice president of Campus Safety and Security, in an announcement to the University community. 

“At UT-Austin, the safety and well-being of the students, faculty and staff are a top priority,” Harkins said in the announcement. “Many are involved in this effort, but a truly safe campus may only be achieved with the help and cooperation of everyone.” 

The measure defines stricter standard hours of operations for University buildings in an effort to improve on-campus safety. 

“After regular operating hours (generally 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.), all general-purpose classroom (GPC) buildings have the ability to restrict entry with a UT ID that has an embedded proximity access chip (applies to most UT IDs issued to students, faculty, and staff),” the announcement said. 

UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said in regards to general-purpose classrooms, the difference between the new and old policy is that under the new policy, general-purpose classrooms will be restricted to those with a valid identification access card after 7 p.m.

“The old policy allowed for anyone, regardless of whether they were associated with the University or not, could enter the buildings without an access card all the way until 11:45 p.m., seven days a week,” Posey said. 

Posey said, in the past, UTPD has received some reports of UT non-affiliates in buildings in or around campus. 

“Persons who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with relevant University discipline policy,” read a press release from the University Policy Office. 

In regards to common-use buildings like the Perry Castañeda Library and the Student Activity Center, Posey said hours of operations for specific buildings will be determined by the senior University official responsible for that building. Posey said the hours of operations of each common-use building would be determined by the specific needs of that building.