Jul 12, 2023 - News

University of Minnesota may end public access to most Twin Cities campus buildings

Illustration of a backpack with an open lock coming out of the top

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The University of Minnesota is considering restricting public access at nearly all its buildings, effectively shutting most of the Twin Cities campus to the general population following years of open hours.

Why it matters: Parents and community members have been raising concerns about safety on and off campus for years, most recently after high-profile crimes in the surrounding Dinkytown neighborhood.

Driving the news: Around half of the U's buildings already require a U Card for entry — an official ID primarily reserved for active students, faculty and staff.

  • Leadership is currently discussing requiring a U card to access the remaining ~70 buildings, Axios confirmed.

Reality check: Though some buildings will switch to "university hours" on or around July 31, changes are still being discussed on a building by building basis, U spokesperson Jake Ricker said. The list of affected areas has not been finalized.

  • Ones most often used by non-students, including libraries and museums, will remain open as they have clear public need, he added.
  • Public lectures, performances and other University events will also remain accessible.

The intrigue: Multiple staff members, faculty and undergraduate students told Axios on Tuesday they have not received any official communication from the U regarding potential changes.

Between the lines: An internal email sent to the Department of Forest Resources' staff, faculty and graduate students Tuesday and viewed by Axios said the policy is the response to several recent "troubling" safety incidents, including when a person without U affiliation was found deceased in a campus building that had public hours.

  • It also cited the February Michigan State University shooting where the suspect was able to enter the building through an unlocked door.
  • Public safety is a factor, but Ricker said the proposed changes aren't the result of any specific incidents.

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