Residence Halls Move to 24-Hour Key Access This Fall at UNK

Dr. Gail Zeller
director of Residential and Greek Life, 308.865.8519

UNK- Students returning to the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus this fall will have an extra measure of safety in place–their residence halls will be 24-hour key access.

Eleven of the 13 residence halls on the UNK campus are part of the new key-access system. Common areas in the halls will continue to follow the traditional daily schedule of being unlocked at 7 a.m. and locked at 11 p.m. Two halls–Centennial Towers East (CTE) and Centennial Towers West (CTW)–will become 24-hour key access halls after they are renovated in 2012 and 2013.

“Moving to 24-hour key access is a way to increase our students’ safety,” said Dr. Gail Zeller, UNK director of Residential and Greek Life. “Campuses across the nation are moving to 24-hour key access halls.” In addition, the three newest halls–Antelope, Nester South and Nester North–have security cameras in place at the door entrances.

The new key access is just one in a series of security measures that have taken place on the campus in recent years. Last year, a campus-wide notification system was put in place. Students, faculty and staff receive notification via voicemail and text messages, as well as on the UNK website. Last year, the system was used to notify the campus of snow days, hazardous weather warnings, etc. The notification system can be as selective as reaching only those individuals in one campus building, or as comprehensive as reaching UNK faculty, staff and students across the campus. The notification system is tested regularly and was further tested as part of a community-wide disaster drill last spring.

Other steps that have been taken to increase safety on the campus include the strategic installation of 10 emergency phones across the campus, additional lighting put in place in parking areas and around buildings, and shrubs and trees have been trimmed back.

Also in place is the Safe Walk Program, which is offered through UNK Police and Parking Services. Individuals returning to campus late at night or needing to walk from one building to another, or from a building to their car, can call UNK Police and Parking Services. An officer will meet the individual and walk with the individual to ensure the individual’s safety.

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Michelle Hamaker, UNK director of Police and Parking Services. “We continually explore ways to strengthen safety measures for our community.

“As we begin the new year, we remind the university community of some of the basic safety steps–lock doors, do not prop open the doors to any campus building, and when you unlock the door to a building, do not let others tailgate in behind you,” she concluded.