Liz Aebersold

Students no longer have to pay for proximity access to buildings on campus, thanks to a new Flawn Academic Center policy.

The FAC is granting proximity access to students with existing UT ID cards at no charge. The new policy is open to all students enrolled at UT.

Prior to 2012, acquiring proximity access to buildings required a $10 identification card, forcing students to make separate trips to the FAC.

“We thought that was silly,” said Liz Aebersold, director of communications and strategy management for Information Technology Services. “We don’t want to make you [buy an ID] twice. So we’ll just make the card have the ability to be enabled [for proximity access].”

Proximity access is granted on a case-by-case basis. Students are granted proximity access by building managers around the campus. The proximity number on UT ID cards is located on the back of the card, and is then entered into the University’s database.

“Let’s say that you’re the dean of the architecture school, and you have two buildings,” Aebersold said. “The dean and his staff will decide which areas they want to lock down and who will have access to those [spaces].”

All labs and new buildings at UT are equipped with the building access control system, said Peter Jackson, an employee at the FAC.

“The database that stores proximity access information,” said Jackson. “ITS [Information Technology Services] began sending emails to students last semester informing them of the change. The emails are being sent 100 at a time.” 

The building access control system is an integral part of UT security. UTPD monitors proximity access sites and responds to security breaches.

“The system is just a part of keeping our spaces secure,” Aebersold said. “ITS works with the police department who will respond to alarms if they’ve been triggered. As far as determining what buildings, rooms or labs are to be placed on lockdown, those decisions are made at the local level.”