Frequently Asked Questions - ID Cards & Building Access
Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions about ID Cards, the access system in general, and about obtaining access to buildings. Please read through the list below and if you have more questions, feel free to e-mail Public Safety or Facilities Services.
Click on each question to view the answer.
How does the Access System and my ID card work?
The Access System has a centralized database that houses all student, faculty, & staff permissions. Each individual building houses access permissions for anyone authorized to enter that building in case the connection to the database is severed.
Your ID card uses an RFID Proximity chip to allow access to many residential and academic buildings. When placed near a reader, the chip receives a Radio-Frequency signal which provides enough power to send the card's unique number back to the reader. The information is processed and access is either granted or denied. Your ID card also has a magnetic strip on the back (commonly known as a Mag-Stripe) for use at the library to check out books and also for access at a few specific locations on campus that Use Mag-Stripe readers*.
Note: Proximity cards do not need to be placed against card readers to function but will usually function within 6" of the reader. This allows many users to store ID cards in wallets or bags and be able to swipe that item instead of taking the card out. This works in most cases but the distance required to be read correctly will vary by individual reader.
* Mag stripe readers such as Bi-Hall, FIC, Johnson, and other locations are not managed by Public safety. Click here for more information.
My ID Card won't work on a door, why?
If your ID card isn't working to let you into a building, there may be a few different issues:
- Your ID card is broken : ID cards use a Micro-chip and Antenna molded into the card itself. If the chip or Antenna is broken, your ID Card won't work at any buildings (or may provide very sporadic access). Come to public safety to purchase a new ID card.
- The system is picking up the Wrong card. Many students have multiple ID cards (Language School & Academic year cards, lost one then found it after purchasing a new card, etc...) and only one card will work at the reader. If both cards are stored in a wallet, purse, or backpack and that is swiped in front of a reader, there is a 50/50 chance of the system reading the wrong card and denying you access. This is often the case where a backpack swiped more than once at a reader grants access on the 2nd or 3rd try. The solution is to have Public Safety determine which card is not active so you can store it in a safe place (away from your active card).
Note: New proximity based Credit cards or ID Cards from other institutions may also be picked up by the access system.
- Your card or account has been deactivated or does not have the appropriate permissions. If you have multiple ID Cards (language school, found card, etc...), only one will be active so it is important that you use only the one card. Verify with public safety that the card you have in your possession is the active one and that you have the appropriate access permissions. If you have the wrong card, you will need to come to Public Safety to have your card reactivated. If your do not have permission, privileges may be able to be added to your card but will be addressed on a case-by case basis.
- The door is not functioning properly. If your card is not working properly at one door but it is working correctly at others, please notify the appropriate individuals.
- Faculty & Staff should notify Facilities.
- Students should notify their Commons.
- After hours, notify Public Safety if it cannot wait until the next business day.
- The Building is Offline or not functioning properly. If your card is functioning at other residence halls, but no doors on a particular building that you have been able to enter previously, Notify Public Safety immediately as the access system may be experiencing technical difficulties or may need maintenance.
- Student access is not authorized at that location. There are some areas on campus where students have limited or no access and this can vary based upon days, hours, or even minutes. There may also be certain students authorized to enter access controlled areas while others are not. Some examples would be WRMC DJ's and proctor or "The Campus" editors and Hepburn Basement.
I lost/misplaced my ID Card, What do I do now?
If you have lost or misplaced your ID Card, Please do the following
- Contact Public Safety Immediately so it can be deactivated and prevent use by anyone else.
- Stop by the Public safety office to pick up a temporary access card if you believe you have misplaced your ID card. Temporary access cards are free for student use for a period of 3 days which should provide enough time to locate your ID card. These cards must be returned to public safety after they are expired to avoid being charged a Temp Card replacement fee.
- Purchase a new ID. As of June 2009, Replacement ID cards for Students are $20 but please check the handbook for the current cost to replace an ID card.
My ID card was Stolen. What should I Do?
If your ID Card was Stolen, Contact the Department of Public Safety Immediately to have it deactivated and file a report. A stolen ID card means that someone other than you has access to all of the Access controlled buildings on campus. Public safety will deactivate the card and mark it as stolen so if it is used, it will generate an alarm in the public safety office. Officers will be dispatched to the last location used in an attempt to locate the individual attempting to use the card.
After you have reported your ID Card as stolen, you may opt to sign out a temporary access card for three days [in case your ID card is found/returned] or you may purchase a new ID Card to replace the stolen one.
If you locate your Stolen ID card:
- Do Not attempt to use it. (It won't work, and officers will be dispatched if you do)
- Take the card to the department of Public safety to have your Incident Report Updated and the card status changed to deactivated.
- Store the card away in a safe place.
Where can I get a replacement card?
If your card is broken, worn out, or in need of Replacement, new ID Cards can be purchased at Public Safety. A single ID card should last all 4 years if properly taken care of. The Bookstore offers a number of solutions for keeping your ID card safe and in good condition. In the event that a card needs replacement, Public Safety can Print new ID cards at the cost of $20 however this price is subject to change. Please refer to the handbook for the latest information.
I found an ID card, what should I Do?
If you find an ID card for someone else:
- Do Not Attempt to use the card (as it may have been reported as Stolen).
- Immediately contact the Department of Public Safety and then turn it into the Public Safety Office as soon as possible. - You may have saved someone else the cost of a replacement ID.
If you find your old ID card, please do the following:
- If you haven't purchased a new ID yet, stop by Public Safety to have your card reactivated
- If you have purchased a replacement ID Card, Stop by Public Safety to have the card's status changed from Lost/Stolen to Deactivated. This will prevent alarms from being generated at Public Safety if the card is accidentally used. Also, store your card away in a safe place and do not use it as:
- The card will not work to allow you access to buildings.
- It may interfere with your currently functioning card if stored in the same wallet or purse and that is swiped by a reader.
- It can be reactivated at a later [at no charge] time if you misplace your new replacement Card.
Can I punch a Hole in my card?
NO! but Public Safety Can: Access cards have both a Microchip and antenna which is molded into the card itself. If you punch a hole through either one of these, the card will be rendered inoperable and you will need to purchase a new ID Card.
Public Safety has a Hole punch designed to punch oval holes in certain areas of the card however since these holes are often close to the edge, punching a hole is not recommended. The bookstore carries a variety of ID card holders.
I found my old ID card, Can I get my money back on the one I just purchased?
Unfortunately, no. The ID card materials, printing, and the time to update your record/produce a new card have already been spent so we cannot refund any money. We do recommend that you store the old card in a safe place as it can be reactivated at a later date [at no charge] if your new card is broken, lost, or stolen.
I left my card in my room, can I call to have the door unlocked?
No. For safety purposes, we cannot remotely unlock any access controlled door. If possible, we recommend that you stop by the Public Safety Office to pick up a temporary access card which will allow you access for 3 days. If you do not feel safe or there is some other reason you cannot come to the office, please call the Public Safety office immediately. We will have the nearest available officer meet you either at your door or escort you back to your residence hall to pick up your card.
For more information on Lockout Services: Click Here
Does the college monitor normal entering and exiting activity?
This is a two part answer but the short answer is No.
The access system logs all entrances, alarms, and system faults to a database but Public Safety does not monitor Student, Faculty, or Staff access. With 8,000-10,000 access on any given weekday, only Held Open, Forced Open, and System Faults are monitored by Public safety staff. There are certain circumstances when access records need to be reviewed and the Access Oversight Committee has been established to determine if an event qualifies.
There are primarily three times when student Data is looked at:
- During an emergency: If there is a serious event such as a Sexual Assault and the Access Oversight Committee authorizes a review, all access data (including Student, Faculty, & Staff card usage, as well as Forced & Held open alarms.) will be analyzed.
- Access system maintenance & troubleshooting: In order to maintain the system and troubleshoot problems with Doors, Cards, and buildings, History data will be reviewed by the Access System Administrator. This helps determine if a door is potentially failing and also helps us provide preventative maintenance as well. Information obtained by the Administrator is used for troubleshooting purposes and student information is not shared with anyone.
- ID card Troubleshooting: If a student, faculty or staff member has problems with access, the Access System Administrator will look at access history to determine potential issues with the system, an individuals' account, or the card itself.
How do I obtain access to Bi Hall or FIC?
Bi Hall, FIC, and a few other locations on campus use Magnetic Stripe Card readers for access. These systems are not updated or maintained by Public Safety. Bi Hall access is maintained by Cathy Ekstrom and all other Mag-Stripe Readers are maintained by Facilities Services.
What privileges does my ID Card provide?
Your ID Card serves as identification, allows access into buildings, events, and also provides you with the ability to check out reference materials from the library.
Is my ID Card my room key?
No. ID Cards allow access to the larger dorms but you will still need to use a room key to unlock your actual dorm room.