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Northern Illinois University
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Key Control
Procedure No. 8-9
Issued 3/2002

Control is a service of the Physical Plant Department. Request for services should be directed to Key Control, Physical Plant Office by telephone 753-1215 or through inter-office mail.


Key Control is an administrative service to the Dean, Director, or Chairman of a department. This service provides security and a record system consistently uniform throughout the university. The Dean, Director, or Chairman of a department decides who shall have access to space in a building on the basis of individual responsibilities when approving key requests submitted by his staff. Only those persons duly authorized shall possess keys. Department Heads are invited to contact the Key Control Office of any continuing security problem that might affect a departmental system of locks. When existing facilities are keyed into the key control system, each person authorized to possess a key or keys shall be required to sign for the keys on a Key Request Form. All keys are to be returned to Key Control when the need of the key for university purposes ceases or when requested to do so by an authorized representative of the university, including chairmen, Deans, or directors or departments and the University Policy. When facilities come into the system, the use of any key which has been procured other than through the approved procedure of Northern Illinois University will be considered to be illegal. Possession of another blank with a university combination cut on it, cutting such a key on a university blank by outside agencies, or entry with any such key is in violation of the State of Illinois statutes.

Departmental Responsibilities

Academic and service departments must realize that effective key control requires rooms be kept locked. Individuals should be instructed not to tag keys with room numbers, etc. as this increases the practical hazard of mislaid keys. Included in the danger of uncontrolled distribution of keys is the loaning of authorized keys to unauthorized personnel. This practice is tantamount to allowing authorized keys to be copied. Spare keys should not be kept in an office desk, file cabinet, or other areas in a given room.

Key Issuing Procedure

A separate key request shall be initiated by the requesting department for each key desired and shall be approved by the departmental chair or representative authorized by the chair. More than one key may be requested on a single Key Request providing all the keys have the same key code and are to be issued to one individual. The key request with all required approval complete shall be submitted to the Key Control Office. All keys will be made or purchased by Key Control. Key Control will deliver the key or keys when completed to the Department Head, or the authorized representative, to be issued to the individual requesting the key. It is the responsibility of the Department Head to get the signature of the person receiving the key on the Key Request Form accompanying the key or keys, and to return Part One of the form to the Key Control Office. The Key Request is a four-part form. The original (Part One), Key Control copy, is to be returned to the Key Control Office after is has been signed by the individual receiving the key.

Part Two (yellow copy) shall be retained by the Keyholder for their records. Part Three (pink copy) is retained in Key Control for WIP (work in progress) until signed white copy (copy one) is returned. Part Four (gold) is to be retained by the Department Head.

Department Heads, secretaries, or staff should not sign for keys to be issued to an individual in their absence. Keys, generally, are not issued to undergraduate students. If it is desired that undergraduate students have keys within the department concerned, the Department Chair may desire to issue the key to a faculty or staff member and re-issue to the student on a departmental receipt. Keys should not be transferred from one individual to another unless an approval has been made by the Department Chair and the Key Control Office notified of the transfer. A new Key Request must be sent to Key Control with the name of the person to receive the key listed, and on the bottom of Key Request the name of who the key was transferred from. Any building master or grand master key must be approved by the President of the University or his authorized representative.

When outside contractors need access to NIU facilities, they should obtain keys directly from Key Control rather than through departmental personnel. A refundable deposit is charged.


Key Return Procedure

All keys shall be returned to Department Heads so they can tape that key to their gold (copy four) of the Key Request. That should then be returned to Key Control. All key records must be cleared before final clearance from the university can be completed. In the event that the key or keys are not returned to the department, the Dean, Department Head, or chair shall take further action to see that the keys are returned.

Key and Lock Maintenance

Key Control has a standard code for making of all keys to insure that each individual key is numbered (die stamp marked thereon). Broken or damaged keys will be replaced when all parts of such keys are returned to Key Control Office by the person to whom they are issued originally. All lock picking will be done only by the Key Control Office and shall be done with the approval of a Department Head. All maintenance work on locks and cores shall be done only by personnel from the Physical Plant Department. Periodic audits shall be taken to include physical verification that the assigned keys are in the hands of designated employees and have not been lost or mislaid.

Key Request Form

Shown is a copy of the Four-Part Key Request form. Copy One Key Control Copy, Copy Two Keyholder copy, Copy Three retained in Key Control WIP (work in progress) and Copy Four Department Head Copy.