Keys/Facility Access

Last Revised: Friday, November 20, 2020

Responsible University Administrator: Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance

Responsible University Office: Facilities Maintenance & Operations

Policy Contact: Key Shop


This policy applies to all buildings owned and operated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University of Nebraska that all buildings should be locked to maintain security of the buildings and their contents after normal business hours (hours may vary among buildings), or when not in use for University classes, activities and/or special events. Faculty, students and staff members may be issued access to University buildings upon recommendation of the department Key Manager, in accordance with established procedures. Keys or access cards are issued for entry to University buildings for conducting University business only. Most non-residential campus buildings and facilities are accessible to members of the campus community and guests and visitors during normal hours of business, and some buildings for limited designated hours on Saturday and Sundays. Access times will vary depending upon the nature of the building and activity. Except for those students, faculty, and staff with keys or appropriately-authorized access cards, access is generally restricted to University-affiliated personnel during recognized holidays.

Facility Access Management

  • The Building Systems Maintenance Division (BSM) of the Facilities Management and Planning Department maintains a system of keys and locks to all academic and administrative building doors. No keys may be duplicated by departments or individuals. All access devices remain the property of UNL and will not be sold or in any other way transferred to an individual outside the limits of this policy.
  • Access into UNL buildings is managed by the UNLPD which will maintain the official records of the assignment of High Security Access. Department Key Managers are responsible for department records of key assignments to interior spaces and electronic access via NCard. The UNLPD will maintain a centralized database that departments may use to track interior, department issued keys.
  • Employees should notify their Key Manager when any keys are lost and it is the Key Manager’s responsibility to report the key lost to UNLPD through the online Access Management Program.
  • Departments that are assigned interior space shall make the determination of whether interior door security needs to be restored due to a key(s) that has been lost, stolen, improperly duplicated or not returned. For shared spaces, department(s) that originally authorized issuance of an Interior Key or the department for which the employee works who lost the keys may be required to pay the cost to restore interior building security. (The cost to restore building security includes labor and materials required to change the locking mechanism on each door that the missing key operates, and the cost to re-issue keys to all individuals who have authorized access through the affected doors). The UNLPD, after consultation with affected departments, shall make the determination of whether security needs to be restored for all High Security doors as necessary.
  • A fee will be assessed to the department for an Interior Key.
  • Buildings that are reserved for special events through the Office of the Registrar can be scheduled to be open.

Department Responsibilities

  • UNL departments are responsible for security of their interior spaces.
  • Campus departments designate the individual(s) who has access to its interior spaces.
  • Campus departments are responsible for maintaining an inventory of keys assigned to individuals. The UNLPD will coordinate with departments annually regarding key assignments and will be available throughout the year for consultation to help effectively manage interior keys.

High Security Access

  • Verify that the individual is authorized to conduct University business within a secure space.
  • Immediately notify the UNLPD when an individual’s NCard is lost or stolen.
  • Immediately notify the UNLPD when an individual is no longer authorized for electronic High Security access or the individual is separating from the University.
  • Actively attempt recovery of Exterior Keys from individuals who are no longer authorized to use the keys or the individual is separating from the University. Recovered keys should be returned to the UNLPD.

Interior Keys
Interior Keys are managed and issued to individuals by the Department that occupies the particular space. By
issuing such an Interior Key to an individual, the Department agrees to:

  • Verify that the individual is authorized to conduct University business within a secure space.
  • Immediately notify UNL Police when any Interior Key is lost or stolen.
  • Secure all Interior Keys not issued to an individual.
  • Actively attempt recovery of Interior Keys from individuals who are no longer authorized to use the key or the individual is separating from the University.
  • Maintain accurate and current records for all Interior Keys issued and recovered by the Department.

Personal Building Access Responsibilities
Individuals issued access rights to a building or interior spaces are responsible to safeguard their NCard and key and to maintain security of the campus building or area that the key opens. By accepting access rights or a key an individual agrees to:

  • Protect the NCard and Interior Key from theft or loss.
  • Not duplicate, loan or allow any other individual to use the key or NCard for entry.
  • Assure that doors are relocked after entering or leaving.
  • Assume responsibility for the conduct of any person the key holder allows to enter a locked facility.
  • Immediately notify UNL Police when the individual’s NCard or key is lost or stolen.
  • Return Interior Keys to the issuing department on demand and prior to separation from the University.

Reason for Policy

This policy is meant to ensure reasonable access to UNL campus facilities while maintaining appropriate levels of security.


Acquiring Facility Access

High Security Access
High Security Access is issued by the UNLPD or its delegates. Procedures to obtain a High Security Access are:

  • The Key Manager is responsible for managing the High Security Access for its personnel.
  • Electronic High Security Access will be granted via activation of the individual’s NCard. Physical key will be issued to the individual when electronic access is not available.
  • To obtain a physical key for roof access; a Work Order and valid NCard will need to be presented to the Key Shop. Roof keys will only be available to be checked out during normal business hours at the Key Shop, Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 4:30 pm. All roof keys need to be back each day by 4:30 pm, unless written approval has been given by UNLPD. To obtain written approval for roof keys past normal business hours; requests will need to be submitted with at least 2 business days prior for proper approval.
  • Elevator equipment room key is due back daily by 4:30pm unless written approval is granted by BSM Manager

Non-High Security Access
Key Managers may request Interior Keys and electronic control for areas assigned to his/her Department. Key Managers distribute and manage interior keys for department personnel.

  • The Key Manager is responsible for tracking the key distribution to its personnel.
  • The Key Manager submits a Key Order with the department’s cost object to the UNLPD.
  • Issued Interior Keys are picked up at the UNLPD by requesting department’s Key Manager(s).


Authorized Person - UNL faculty, staff, student, or affiliate as defined by the NCard Office, and determined by
departmental authority to require access to a controlled area for University business.

High Security Access - Access that opens a space that has been determined by the UNLPD, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), or a UNL Department to require tighter control and additional access restrictions because of the contents or activities conducted within. Because safety and security concerns are heightened during non-business hours, access via exterior entrance doors to buildings is considered High Security Access. When possible, High Security Access is programmed to an individual’s campus identification card (NCard). A physical key will be issued when electronic access is not available.

Interior Key - A key that provides access to an interior space that has not been determined by the UNLPD, EHS, or a
UNL Department to require tighter control or access restrictions.

Key Manager - A designated person to manage and control keys and access to space assigned to a specific Department
and not deemed high security. It is recommended that departments designate one or two backup key managers.

Additional Contacts

UNL Police Department - Building Access



  • This policy was reformatted in 2020 along with the addition of elevator equipment room key requirements under procedures, and other minor grammar updates.