U of M to Restrict Building Access Due to Recent Crimes

Updated: 05/19/2014 7:40 AM KSTP.com By: Beth McDonough

Security improvements are being made at the University of Minnesota after a rise in violent crimes targeting students.

Buildings on the East Bank are open to just about anyone, but starting Monday that will change.

The changes will affect the 80,000 people who visit the campus each day, there won't be an open door policy anymore.

Back in February, access to some buildings on the West Bank was restricted. Now, it's the East Bank too.

"Single women are the victims of a lot of attacks," said student Casey Hinds. That's always in the back of her mind when she's out and about on campus. She's a chemical engineer major and a fan of expanding restricted access to buildings from one side of campus to all of it. "Because you don't want random people walking into buildings only people with key card access should get in," Hinds said.

Notices are posted on the doors of three dozen buildings on the East Bank, letting students and staff know going forward and to carry their U-cards if they want to get in before or after hours.

"It'll be inconvenient because I don't always carry my card with me," said Zarjish Yousa, a sophomore studying economy.

The hours vary with the building. For administrative centers, folks need to swipe a U-card to get in after 5 p.m.  For buildings with classes, the hours are later and start at 7 p.m. Students will also have to carry a card on the weekends. 

The reduced hours come after alarming incidents where a man armed with a gun tried to rob a student in Anderson Hall. Police reports show there have been other students stabbed, sexually assaulted and burglarized around campus,

"You definitely want a sense of openness and community at the university, so it's a shame that it has to be implemented in the first place," said Lisa Vaughan, a student.

By the time the fall semester starts, the goal is to enhance safety at all 93 buildings on campus. It costs about $3.5 million.  Earlier this year, the Board of Regents agreed to pay for it.