The Mcard system on campus is about to get a lot smarter.

In the final phase of a two-year effort to make buildings across campus more secure, all returning University students must trade their existing Mcards for new “smart” Mcards by Nov. 1. As the new Mcard system is put into place, the University is aiming to make more LSA buildings only accessible after hours through the programmable chips found in the smart Mcards.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said the safety effort first began on North Campus this past summer, when the University replaced manual locks on academic buildings with either card-swipers or proximity card readers. By installing the card-reading technology, Brown said, buildings can be locked earlier and will only be accessible to students, faculty and staff members with smart Mcards. The system also allows particular colleges within the University to limit their building access to only students in the college or school rather than the entire student body.

Brown said the hope is that by Jan. 1 the system will be expanded to a number of LSA buildings and other commonly-used buildings on Central Campus that have traditionally remained unlocked until late in the evening. The goal of using the new Mcards is to reduce and ultimately eliminate unauthorized access to campus buildings — particularly at night when they are less occupied, she said.

Brown stressed that even though “piggy-backing” — holding the door for a person who may not be authorized to enter the building — will still occur, she believes the new card system will significantly reduce the number of unauthorized entries.

Kirstin Knag, an Mcard office assistant, said the process of getting a new Mcard is fairly simple. If students have an old Mcard, they will have a new one printed. If students do not have an old Mcard, they will be charged $20 and will need to present either a valid driver’s license or passport to receive their new card.

According to the University’s Office of Public Affairs, about 35,000 new cards have been issued and about 45,000 cards still need to be replaced.

Incoming students who were issued an Mcard for the first time over the summer already have a smart Mcard, Brown said. However, all students are encouraged to visit mcard.umich.edu and compare their current Mcard with the pictures displayed on the site to see if they need to obtain a new card.

Though the process is not complicated, Knag said because the office can only print one card at a time, lines can build quickly and students may have to wait.

“I would just like to stress patience,” she said.

To make the process more convenient for students, the Mcard center temporarily opened a station in the Chemistry Building this month. On Central Campus, students can also visit the Central Campus Recreation Building and the Mcard center in the Student Activities Building to receive their new cards. On North Campus, cards can be replaced at Pierpont Commons, and students and faculty on South Campus can go to Wolverine Tower.

Brown added that though the University is adding the extra security measure, everyone on campus should report potentially suspicious behavior.

“Anytime students or anyone in our community are seeing suspicious behavior, they should call the police right away,” Brown said. “If people can report suspicious behavior quickly to the police, then we have a better shot at identifying perpetrators and getting them off our campus.”

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