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06.06.02 – Public Access to Campus Buildings

Section: Campus Safety

Area: Security Technology

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A safe environment is essential in providing a high-quality education. A safe environment includes implementation of restricted building and facility access. This policy establishes standard operating hours for University buildings to enhance safety and security, while maintaining compliance with applicable laws, regulations and associated policies.


While the University of Houston is a public university, the institution retains the right to establish, manage and control access to all University buildings. This policy applies to all facilities owned, leased, and/or under the control of the University of Houston. With the exception of the University Libraries, Cullen Performance Hall and the University Student Centers, University-owned buildings and facilities are not considered open to the public. Therefore, access to University buildings and facilities, including UH at Sugar Land and UH at Katy, is generally restricted to University students, faculty, staff, vendors, contractors and invited guests. This requires University students, faculty, staff, and vendors/contractors to carry their UH Cougar Card at all times to obtain access to campus buildings. A person's UH Cougar Card is the key to enter campus buildings during restricted access hours.


A. Electronic Access Control System (EACS) – The EACS, managed by the Cougar Access Control Services within Facilities/Construction Management in coordination with University Information Technology and with support from UHPD, is used by the University to electronically control access to buildings and facilities. The EACS allows the University to limit access to buildings, facilities and/or areas inside buildings and facilities to provide additional levels of security. Examples include, but are not limited to, door access systems requiring a UH Cougar Card and proximity cards.

B. Restricted Access Hours – A specified time period during which all exterior doors on a building are locked and building access is through an EACS door and restricted to authorized persons only.

C. Security Zones – Defined access types for University buildings and/or areas within a University building or facility.

D. Department Access Users (DAU) – The DAUs have the responsibility for the management of electronic access lists to building perimeter doors and other access areas under the control of the department. This includes granting and revoking after-hours access to all restricted areas under control by that department, as well as changing restricted hours on a temporary basis as needed.

E. Building Access Modes – Identifies when and how individuals gain access to University buildings and/or portions of buildings.


Security Zones were identified to allow access privileges for each building user to be customized based on their individual need. For the purposes of this MAPP, buildings owned, leased and/or controlled by the University of Houston may include some or all of the four types of Security Zones developed as described below.

A. Public Access Zone: An area to which the public has free access, including public corridors, grounds and parking lots.

B. Reception Zone: The area to which the general public has access within a building, but beyond which access is restricted at all times.

C. Operations Zone: The area to which only employees and approved visitors (with a legitimate access requirement approved by the Building Coordinator or DAU) have access.

D. Security Zone: The area to which access is restricted to authorized personnel at all times.


The University of Houston utilizes three primary building access modes to describe the manner in which individuals gain access to University buildings.

A. Open Mode – All building/facility exterior doors used for ingress/egress are unlocked and building access is available to anyone needing entrance.

B. Facilities Mode – All building/facility exterior doors used for ingress/egress are locked restricting building ingress to only those individual with a valid UH Cougar Card. Being in Facilities Mode does not affect building egress.

C. Designated Card Mode – All building/facility exterior doors used for ingress/egress are secured with building ingress being restricted to only those individuals who have been authorized access during restricted hours by their DAU. Being in Designated Card Mode does not affect building egress.

D. Restricted Mode – All building/facility exterior doors used for ingress/egress are secured with building ingress limited to emergency responders. Being in Restricted Mode does not impact building egress.


For purposes of this MAPP, campus buildings are divided into the six (6) types listed below. Refer to Section IX for a list of building types and the hours which buildings are open to the public.

A. Administrative Buildings – Campus buildings that do not have classrooms and/or laboratories.

B. Classroom Buildings – Campus buildings containing classrooms, laboratories and/or offices providing administrative support for these functions.

C. Auxiliary Buildings – Buildings including student centers and parking garages.

D. Buildings with No Public Access – Buildings including power plant, maintenance facilities, and all buildings related to critical campus infrastructure.

E. Buildings with Limited Public Access – Buildings including residential facilities, sports facilities and performance halls.

F. Libraries

1. M.D. Anderson Library (freestanding building) with Special Collections;

2. William R. Jenkins Architecture Design and Art Library (located in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture);

3. Music Library (located in the Moores School of Music);

4. Health Sciences Library (located in the Health 2 Building); 

5. University Branch Library (UH Sugar Land); and

6. John M. O’Quinn Law Building Library


University of Houston Building Controlled Access Guidelines Appendix A: Building Types, Standard Schedule & Access Guidelines


Issued: 01/24/2019
Last Reviewed/Revised: 05/3/2024
Responsible Office(s): UHPD; Facilities/Construction Management