University Administrative Policies


UNM_Policy_Office-L communicates important policy announcements (such as policy approvals, revisions, or campus review-and-comment periods).

UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-2069

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 5010: Key Authorization

Date Originally Issued: 05-05-1995
Revised: 05-08-1998, 10-16-1998, 08-01-2006, 01-04-2018

Authorized by RPM 7.9 ("Property Management")

Process Owner: Associate Vice President for Institutional Support Services

1. General

Security of University buildings and rooms is essential for the protection of individuals and University assets. To ensure security, the University Lock Shop is responsible for issuing keys and installing and maintaining locks for University facilities, vehicles, and equipment. All keys issued remain the property of the University of New Mexico. Keys for University facilities cannot be produced, duplicated, or obtained from any source other than the University Lock Shop. Unless otherwise stated in this policy, the term "key" includes electronic key cards and fobs (proximity chips).

Unauthorized possession, use, or reproduction of a University key may constitute theft or misappropriation of University property and lead to prosecution under NMSA 1978, § 30-14-2. Any employee who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

This policy applies to the Albuquerque campus, including the Science and Technology Park. Branch campuses have their own procedures for issuing keys and installing and maintaining locks.

2. Assignment of Keys

The Lock Shop may issue keys to authorized faculty, staff, and students. Student employees must provide proof of their titles and normally will be issued a key only for the room they are authorized to occupy. Employees will not be issued more than one (1) key with the same number.

The Director of Facilities Management may authorize the Lock Shop to issue keys to non-University employees who work for organizations affiliated with the University, including vendors, contractors, and consultants doing business with the University. Non-employees issued keys are subject to the same requirements as employees.

2.1. Department Authorization

Vice presidents, deans, assistant deans, directors, and department heads are responsible for determining which employees are issued keys. This authorization may be delegated in writing to a subordinate under the direct supervision of one of these administrators. These administrators or delegates should use good judgment when determining who needs keys. Keys should be issued only to individuals who have a legitimate need for a key. Master and sub-master keys are normally issued only to individuals who need access to buildings outside of regular building hours and special care should be taken when assigning these keys to students. Keys should not be authorized for on-call or temporary employees except under unusual circumstances.

Vice presidents, deans, assistant deans, directors, department heads, and their delegates may authorize keys only for their departments and are responsible for informing employees of their responsibilities as stated in Section 2.3. Administrators or delegates authorized to sign key authorization cards must have a signature card on file with the Lock Shop. This allows the Lock Shop to verify signatures on authorization cards. Rubber stamped signatures will not be accepted. It is prohibited to keep pre-signed, blank authorization cards within a department.

2.2. Authorization Card

To obtain a key, employees must take a signed authorization card to the Lock Shop. A separate authorization card, containing original signatures, is required for each key issued. Authorization cards with changes on them will not be accepted. Keys cannot be authorized by telephone. Employees must show the Lock Shop a photo identification card (preferably a LoboCard) when picking up a key.

2.3. Employee Keys

Employees may use University keys and key access cards for access to their assigned work areas and should lock doors when leaving their work area. Employees must ensure that keys and key codes are safeguarded and properly used. Keys must be returned to the Lock Shop in accordance with Section 3. Employees may not lend or exchange an assigned key or key code.

2.4. Residence Hall Keys

Keys to residence halls and student family housing are subject to applicable sections of this policy and the administrative procedures of Residence Life and Student Housing. Keys and locks to residence hall facilities, student family apartments, and service areas of Residence Life and Student Housing are maintained by an in-house locksmith who works closely with the Lock Shop. Lost or stolen keys must be reported to the information desk at the residence hall or the student family housing office. The person assigned the key will be charged for re-keying:

  • if the person cannot locate lost keys after a reasonable time, or
  • if keys are not turned in when checking-out or changing residence.

Residence Life and Student Housing has its own fee structure for lost or stolen keys and for re-keying.

2.5. Departmental Keys

Departmental keys may be issued to a department by submitting a memorandum on departmental letterhead to the Lock Shop. The memorandum must be signed by the applicable department head and contain the following information:

  • Reason for an additional key.
  • How the key will be checked in and out (the process for a person to check it out and how is it recorded and tracked)
  • Where and how the key will be secured while not in use.
  • Name or contact information for the responsible party if the key should become lost or stolen.

 Each request will be evaluated by the Lock Shop and approved on an individual basis.

 3. Key Return

Employees must return keys to the appropriate Lock Shop when:

  • the keys are no longer needed;
  • the employee changes departments;
  • a supervisor requests the keys be returned; or
  • the keys are unusable due to re-keying or remodeling.

New or replacement keys will not be issued to an employee until unused keys are returned or a lost key fee has been paid as stated in Section 4.1. 

When there is a disciplinary problem, where a supervisor has reason to believe that an employee will not return the assigned key to the Lock Shop, the supervisor may request the employee to surrender the assigned key to the supervisor. The supervisor must give a receipt to the employee. The supervisor should return the employee's assigned key with a copy of the receipt to the Lock Shop within one (1) working day.

Employees on extended leave, such as summer vacation or sabbatical leave, are encouraged to turn keys into the Lock Shop and have the keys reissued upon return.

3.1. Separation of Employment

When employees leave the University, employees must return their keys to the Lock Shop and submit the appropriate signed separation checklist (faculty or staff) to their supervisor, department administrator, or the Payroll Department. For more information, refer to UAP 3225 (“Separation of Employment”) and the appropriate employment center.

Separation checklists enable the University to verify that keys are returned. If an employee separates from the University without returning assigned keys, fees for lost keys may be deducted from the employee's last paycheck (see Section 6). If the fee is not withheld from the employee's last paycheck, the University has the right to pursue collection of the fee.

3.2. Students and Student Employees

Students must return all assigned keys to the Lock Shop at the end of each spring semester and upon withdrawal, transfer, or graduation. Departments are responsible for ensuring that students return their keys. If a department believes a student has not returned a key, it should inform the Lock Shop immediately. If students need to retain their keys for the Summer, the cognizant dean or director must send written authorization to the Lock Shop before the end of the Spring semester. Students who do not return keys may be prohibited from registering for classes or receiving their transcripts and diplomas.

4. Facility Security

4.1. Lost or Stolen Keys

Anyone finding a University key should turn it in to the Lock Shop. Individuals must immediately report lost or stolen keys to the Lock Shop, appropriate administrator or delegate, and the University Police Department. Fees for a lost or stolen key are charged to the individual responsible for the key (see Section 6).

To obtain a replacement key, an individual must bring a receipt for payment of the fee, a new authorization card, and a copy of the police report to the Lock Shop. Employees must show the Lock Shop their LoboCard or another form of photo identification. If the key is not to be reissued, the employee must bring a receipt for payment of the fee and a police report to the Lock Shop.

4.2. Re-keying

When a key is lost or stolen, the administrator or delegate is responsible for deciding whether to re-key an area. If the area is not re-keyed, security may be compromised which could affect insurance coverage for any property reported missing in the future. The costs to re-key due to loss or theft may be charged to the individual responsible for the key.

4.3. Installation of Locks

The Lock Shop must approve the installation of locks on University buildings. Private locks may not be used on University buildings. Departments will be charged for locks installed, removed, or re-keyed during a remodeling project.

5. Vehicle and Equipment Keys

5.1. Vehicle Keys

Vice presidents, deans, assistant deans, directors, department heads, or administrative coordinators may request a vehicle key from the University Automotive Center. Departments will be charged for vehicle keys.

5.2. Equipment Keys

If departments choose, they may request keys to University equipment, such as desks, file cabinets, or lab benches from the Lock Shop. The signed key authorization card must include the key number from the lock. If re-keying is necessary, departments will be charged for re-keying locks on equipment.

6. University Key Fees

6.1. Lost or Stolen Keys

In the event a key is lost, the individual responsible for the key must pay a fee to the University Cashier Department. There is a $10.00 fee for each individual key and a $25.00 fee for each master key. A department may not pay or waive this fee for the individual. The cost of replacing electronic key cards will be determined by the department that is responsible for the purchase of key cards. These fees will be refunded if the individual finds the lost or stolen key and returns the key to the Lock Shop.

There is no fee if a key is stolen and a police report is provided to the Lock Shop, but re-keying costs might be assessed to the individual responsible for the key under Section 4.2. However, anyone filing a false police report will be subject to discipline and/or criminal charges.

Residence Life and Student Housing has its own published policy on lost and stolen keys, which includes the fees that are assessed in such circumstances.

6.2. Broken Keys

Broken keys will be replaced without charge if all the broken parts are returned to the appropriate Lock Shop.

6.3. Deposits

Any key deposits currently held by the University will be refunded to employees upon separation from the University and return of the applicable key

6.4. Contractors

There is a $25.00 fee per key for all outside contractors performing duties on campus. The Director of Facilities Management may waive this fee for continuous service providers,such as the Veteran's Administration. The fee will be refunded when keys are returned to the Lock Shop at the completion of duties. The department contracting with the outside contractor shall verify that keys have been returned to the Lock Shop before authorizing final payment. The Planning, Design, and Construction Department shall verify that construction contractors have returned keys before authorizing final payment. The cost of re-keying may be withheld from the University's final payment for those outside contractors who do not return University keys.

7. Electronic Key Card Security Systems

Departments may decide to install an electronic security system for the protection of specialized facilities, such as biomedical research facilities, telecommunication facilities, animal research facilities, or computer rooms. The purchase and installation of such systems must be approved and coordinated with the Facilities Management Department. Facilities Management will ensure compliance with safety and security requirements, including the provisions of this policy.

8. Science and Technology Park

The Real Estate Office, through its Property Management Office in the Science and Technology located at 851 University Blvd., Suite 202, coordinates with the Lock Shop for the issuance of keys and access cards for facilities located in the Science and Technology Park. In addition to University employees and students, keys may be issued to employees and tenants leasing space in the Park. These individuals are subject to all the requirements listed in this policy with the following additions.

8.1. Key and Access Card Authorization

Senior management of organizations leasing space in the Science and Technology Park must authorize keys and access cards for the leased space under the provision of Section 2.  Authorization sheets are used instead of authorization cards. Authorized individuals will have access capability added to their Lobo Card. Individuals who do not have a Lobo Card (such as tenants) will be issued a white access card. Access cards will be returned to the Property Management Office when they are no longer needed or the individual is no longer authorized to have building access.

9. Emergencies

In cases of emergencies, employees can enter a building and/or office by contacting the University Police Department. The Lock Shop will not open locked doors.

10. Exceptions

Any exceptions to this policy must be approved in writing by the Director of Facilities Management. When requesting an exception, the administrator or delegate should include department procedures designed to ensure key security. The administrator or delegate will take a copy of the approved procedure to the Lock Shop to obtain a key.

11. References

University Lock Shop

Division of Human Resources

Office of Faculty Affairs and Services

NMSA 1978, § 30-14-2 (“Consent required for key duplication of educational institutions”)