Pacific Lutheran University

Campus Key/Access Card Policy

Effective 2016 (Updated 2021)

The university has nearly 5,000 doors/locks on campus and over 10,000 issued keys. The loss of one single key can create a significant financial impact on the university and severely disrupt university business. This policy is intended to clarify how keys are issued, the storage and carrying of keys, and the associated costs to individuals and departments when keys are lost. This policy covers university keys issued to employees and departments. This does not cover keys issued by Residential Life to residential students.

Section 1 - Eligibility and Responsibilities

Eligibility for Keys
Keys will be issued based on an individual or department need versus the convenience of the individual. The need for a key will be weighed against the risk presented if the key were lost. Safety and security for PLU students, staff, and faculty must be a priority. Appropriate access approvals will provide maximum protection from harm, theft, vandalism and other potential concerns.

Issuance of Keys
The Access Department at Campus Safety oversees the management and issuance of campus keys. Requests for keys (new or replacement) can be done via the Access online form. For new employees the request for keys must come from the DOAR for the respective area. Replacement (broken key) requests may come from the employee. Replacement of any keys will not be issued until a lost key report is filed.

Staff and Faculty
Employees may be issued keys to their office and/or office suite. Employees will not be issued keys to exterior doors to campus facilities. Exterior door access will be granted via the access card system. If the building is not equipped with card access the employee will have access permission via a Campus Safety admit.

Exception – Campus houses are not equipped with card swipe systems and typically have very low numbers of employees. Employees from these spaces are allowed to have exterior door keys issued to them.

Students should not be issued PLU campus keys. Students may be granted access privileges (see Access Policy) to various spaces on campus. If the student is an employee of a campus department they may checkout keys from the department while performing their duties. Students should not be taking department keys with them after their shift.

Department Keys
To increase accountability and decrease the number of keys issued, building master keys, sub-master keys, external door and other storage/general workspace keys will be issued to departments only. Exceptions are made for PLU houses.

Carrying and Storage of Keys
Individually assigned keys
Keys issued directly to an individual by the Access Department must be kept on a key chain or lanyard when away from the office. These keys may be taken off campus.
Department issued keys
Department issued keys (master, sub-master, storage/general workspace keys) should not be removed from campus by the employee after their work day. They should be stored behind two layers of security. The first level of security can be a lock box attached to a wall or in a locked drawer/cabinet. The second level of security may be a locked office door. The Access Department will provide a lockbox when requested. When an employee is using these keys they must be attached to a keychain or lanyard. The keys should remain on the person when not directly in use.

Departments should conduct regular inventory of lock box contents and departments keys/cards.

Responsibilities of Key and Card Holders
All key or card holders must:

  • Comply with all building access policies and procedures.
  • Secure all doors immediately upon entry of a locked building.
  • Never loan a key or card to someone not approved to use the key or card.
  • Prevent other individuals from entering a space for which they are not approved (i.e., tailgating in behind someone passing through a locked entry).
  • Not duplicate a key or card.
  • Protect PLU keys and cards from theft and loss.
  • Notify their supervisor and Campus Safety of a loss or theft within 24 hours via email or phone. An official report must also be completed. The report form is located on the Access Department website via the Lost Key form. Lost cards can be remotely turned off, preventing access, so notification to Campus Safety immediately is critical. Campus Safety: 253-535-7441, Select Option 1.

Returning Keys

  • Return all keys to Access Department immediately at end of employment.
    Return access cards to Campus Concierge immediately at end of employment.
  • Return all keys to Access Department when there is a change in employment (e.g., transfer to a different department or location, change of responsibilities. Do not just hand over keys to new person).
  • Pay replacement fees for lost and/or unreturned keys or cards.

Responsibilities of Departments
Departments who authorize access must:

  • Participate in key and card audits in cooperation with the Access Department.
  • Ensure employees and students return keys and ID cards to Access Department at end of employment or access need.
  • Notify Access immediately when access privileges for employees or students change.
  • Notify Access when keys or cards are lost or missing.
  • Utilize lock boxes, or other secure storage methods, and inventory department keys regularly.
  • Pay required costs of re-cores after reported key losses.

Responsibilities of Access Department

  • Evaluate the appropriateness of key requests.
  • Identify security concerns and seek advice from Campus Safety Director.
  • Issue keys and card swipe access within seven days of an appropriate request.
  • Notify the following group when any key is lost or unreturned: Campus Safety Director, Risk Manager, and Assoc. VP of Facilities Management. If the key pertains to a residential hall, the notification group will include Residential Life administration.
  • Define and manage access levels for service groups and other groups.

Section 2 – Replacement and Re-coring Costs

The costs to the University for lost/stolen keys can be significant. A single key may affect 50 doors and be issued to 100 different people. A re-core of the locks not only costs a significant amount of money but also staff/administrative time. The following are the associated costs for lost/stolen keys. There are two associated fees to lost keys – key replacement and re-coring of the door(s).

Employee Loss

  • Keys that are misplaced by the employee will be subject to a replacement fee of $35 per key.
  • If the keys are lost due to theft there is no charge to the employee. An associated police report documenting the theft is required to be shared with the Access Department for the fee to be waived.
  • Keys that are stolen but were used outside of this policy are subject to the replacement fee (i.e., an employee takes home department issued keys that are not to leave campus and they are stolen).
  • Departments cannot pay the key replacement fee for the employee.

Department Loss

  • Departments will incur a re-core fee and replacement key fee for lost keys requiring a re-core.
  • Departments will not be subject to a re-core fee if the keys were stolen as long as the keys were used within policy.
  • Re-core costs will be charged back to the department up to a maximum of $500.
  • Any replacement keys that need to be issued to staff/faculty from a re-core will be charged to the department at $1.50 per key.

Additional Sanctions
Supervisors should conduct regular audits of employee keys and department key boxes. When an employee is found to be using keys outside of policy there should be appropriate corrective action taken.

Departments may face additional sanctions if their employees have repeat violations of the university policy. Sanctions may include:

  • Department keys stored at Campus Safety and checked out daily by employees.
  • Require the purchase of an electronic key lock box by the department to improve key management.
  • Take away keys and require access via Campus Safety admit/unlock only.