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SEC-038: Management of the University Keyed System (Key and Lock Policy)

Date: 05/06/2016 Status: Final
Last Revised: 07/22/2021
Policy Type: University
Contact Office: Facilities Management
Oversight Executive: Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government Relations
Applies To:

Academic Division and the Medical Center.

Reason for Policy:

The University of Virginia provides guidance on and regulates the issuance, accounting, control, and return of all keys under its Master Keyed System in order to achieve maximum protection, safety, and security for students, faculty, and staff, their personal property, and all other University assets when secured in a University assignable space. Additionally, these regulations safeguard the University from unauthorized persons being able to gain illegal entry into a facility or area.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Departmental Keys:Master Keys issued to Deans/Department Heads for the access needs of multiple users within a department subject to approval by and in accordance with the Facilities Management Lock Shop’s key control practices for secure and auditable use.
  • FM Lock Shop:The University’s solely authorized agent for lock and key control, responsible for hardware maintenance, upgrades, and modifications, and for key creation and destruction.
  • Key Control System:The University’s official database of lock and key hardware as well as authorized users.
  • Master Key:By distinction of its unique “cut,” this is a key capable of unlocking multiple uniquely pinned locks, therefore performing as multiple keys.
  • Non-Master Key:By distinction of its unique “cut,” this is a key capable of unlocking only one specific pinned keyway.
  • Responsible Person1:The individual who is authorized to receive a key and to whom the key was originally issued.
  • University Keyed System:Lock and Key hardware of specific manufacturer and specification that is managed by the University Facilities Management Lock Shop and tracked and maintained through the Key Control System.
Policy Statement:

All University facilities are to be secured by lock systems integrated into the University Keyed System. Exceptions must be approved by the University Chief of Police. The issuance, accounting, control, and return of all keys under its Master Keyed System are governed by the following:

  1. Systems Authority and Responsibility:
    Facilities Management (FM) is authorized to make and issue keys for the University Keyed System and to rekey lock cylinders that are part of the System. Unless specifically approved by FM, key reproduction or cylinder rekeying by a vendor or through any other source is strictly prohibited. (See Section 2, CODE OF VIRGINIA below).

    FM is responsible for maintaining the University Keyed System key and cylinder asset records and for tracking key issuance and key inventories.

  2. Code of Virginia:
    In accordance with the Code of Virginia, 18.2-503, Possession or duplication of certain keys:

    1. No person shall knowingly possess any key to the lock of any building or other property owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a department, division or agency thereof, without receiving permission from a person duly authorized to give such permission to possess such key.

    2. No person, without receiving permission from a person duly authorized to give such permission shall knowingly duplicate, copy, or make a facsimile of any key to a lock of a building or other property owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a department, division or agency thereof.

    Violation of this section shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor.

    Reference: Code 1950, 18.1-408.1; 1972, c. 139; 1975, cc, 14, 15; 1984, c.61.)

  3. Master Keys:
    Master Keys may only be issued to individuals or departments with legitimate need to access multiple locked spaces with a single key.

    Authorization for the issuance of Master Keys must come from the department(s) responsible for the corresponding space/property. Requests for Master Keys must be approved by appropriate, designated individuals within those departments, and may require additional approvals by University Administration and the University Chief of Police.

    Upon confirmed authorization, FM will issue a Master Key directly to a Responsible Person. All Master Keys will be uniquely serialized and tracked through the FM Key Control System. Responsibility for a Master Key may not be transferred by the Responsible Person to another individual or party.

    Multiple, duplicate, Master Keys may be issued to a department for temporary or rotational use by multiple users. Auditable key control practices, reviewed and approved by the FM Lock Shop, must be in place prior to issuance of departmental Master Keys. The Dean or Department Head will assign a Responsible Person to receive and control these Master Keys. Departmental inventories will be subject to periodic audit.

  4. Financial Responsibility:
    Financial responsibility regarding locks and keys with respect to a department is subject to the Service Level Agreement in place with Facilities Management. Auxiliaries are responsible for funding repairs to their master keyed systems. Deans/department heads will be responsible for funding all costs associated to rekey an area when security is compromised because a key issued to their staff is lost or stolen.

  5. Issuance of Keys:
    The FM Lock Shop may issue keys directly to a Responsible Person or a departmental designee who is then responsible for issuing and controlling keys within the department. The assignment and issuance of all keys issued to an individual for their or their department’s use, shall be documented in the FM Key Control System.

  6. Return of Keys:
    When a Responsible Person no longer requires an issued key, that key shall be returned to the issuing agent, either in the department or the FM Lock Shop. The transference of each issued key shall be recorded in the FM Key Control System. Deans, Department Heads or their designees are responsible to account for all University Keyed System keys when an employee leaves their organization.

  7. Destruction of Keys:
    The FM Lock Shop is solely responsible for the destruction of keys in such a manner as to prevent duplication.

  8. Responsibility of Key Recipients:
    All University Keyed System keys remain the property of the University of Virginia and shall be used solely in the performance of the Responsible Person’s assigned duties. Responsible Persons shall exercise due diligence in preventing loss or theft of keys issued to them.

    Key recipients are responsible for reporting lost keys immediately to departmental representatives who in turn must advise FM. Stolen keys shall be reported to the University Police by the responsible person. Possession of unauthorized keys shall be reported to the dean/department head for appropriate investigation, disciplinary and/or legal action.

  9. Issuance of Temporary Keys:
    Upon request and authorization, the FM Lock Shop may issue Temporary Keys for use by vendors or other outside parties affiliated with a given department. The managing department is responsible for coordinating the approval, issuance, and key return process, and is responsible for any charges resulting from lost or misused temporary keys.

  10. Exemption from the University Keyed System:
    To exempt a facility from the University Keyed System, Deans/Department Heads shall submit requests, with justification, to the appropriate vice-president, with additional notification to the University Police and the University Fire Safety Official. This includes electronic access systems as well as keyed systems.

    If exemption is approved, the requesting department shall furnish the University Police with no less than two department contacts who will provide emergency access. If the police are unable to contact these persons and the safety of the building or occupants require forced entry, the requesting department will be responsible for the cost of repairs.

  11. Lockouts:
    If a Responsible Person’s issued key is momentarily unavailable, access may be provided by authorized department personnel. If department personnel are unable to assist, UVA Security officers may provide access in academic facilities, and Medical Center Security may provide access in Health Systems facilities. If Security officers cannot respond, FM Lock Shop personnel may provide access. (See Section 4 above.)

    University Police may provide access only when lockouts entail emergency or life safety concerns.

  12. Reports:
    The records maintained through the FM Key Control system will be made available to Responsible Persons and Deans/Department Heads as needed to verify the active and inactive key inventories. FM will perform and make available general audits of the Key Control System.

  13. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to Facilities Management.


UVA Facilities Management Key Request e-Form

Information and forms pertaining to the FM Key Control System are available on the FM website.

Major Category:
Safety, Security and Environmental Quality
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Policy Review Committee, 05/06/2016
Revision History:
Added Compliance section 7/22/21.
Supersedes (previous policy):

XIII.E.1: University of Virginia Key and Lock Policy.