Key Control


Policy Statement

It is the policy of the university to limit and tightly control the number of keys to university facilities and spaces.  All keys to university facilities and spaces are the property of The George Washington University, and must be obtained and managed in accordance with this policy. 

Reason for Policy 

To prevent unauthorized access to university facilities and spaces, enhance cost control, and promote a safe living, learning and working environment for members of the university community. 

Who is Governed by this Policy 

  • Students
  • Staff
  • Faculty


The campus should operate with as few keys as possible, and the number of keys issued should be limited and tightly controlled.  This policy applies to all departments, and to keys to all university facilities and spaces, including but not limited to student residences, academic buildings and support structures.   

With the exception of leased spaces, Facilities Services is responsible for overall management of keys used throughout the university, including: 

  1. Processing key requests. 
  2. Issuing and replacing all keys. 
  3. Repairing locks. 
  4. Conducting audits of departmental key control programs and key box logs. 

Departments may only obtain keys to university facilities and spaces from Facilities Services.  Department Heads, Deans and Chairpersons are responsible for keys issued for buildings, areas and spaces within the department’s control or responsibility.   

Departments are further responsible for: 

  1. Developing a departmental key control procedure. 
  2. Appointing a single Key Control Monitor to administer the departmental key control policy.  The Key Control Monitor is individually responsible for: 

a. Requesting Keys 

b. Issuing Keys Inside of a Department 

c. Departmental Internal Audits 

d. Reporting Lost Keys 

  1. Appointing a Key Box Manager (where the department is authorized to hold master or sub-master keys)  
  2. Maintaining records of keys received and issued.  
  3. Periodically auditing all key records by comparing such records to the Lock Shop’s records. 
  4. Report all lost keys to Facilities Services and GWPD within 72 hours of confirmed lost.  
  5. Departmental request for Master Keys must be approved by the Director of Facilities Maintenance or their designee. 

Anyone controlling a ‘Medium Risk’ or ‘High Risk’ key is entrusted with the physical security of members of the university community, as well as university and personal property. Personnel controlling such keys must comply with further, specific requirements established for security of such keys.  These requirements, as well as detailed procedures and forms pertaining to key control in general, are set forth in Key Control Procedures available from Facilities. 

Requests for keys, lock changes, or other (non-emergency) work performed by the George Washington University lockshop will be submitted online.  Each school and department will have an appointed FIXIT “Power User” who will coordinate and authorize all alteration requests for that school or department.  Alteration requests (e.g., key order, lock change) made by non-authorized individuals will be automatically rejected.  


Low Risk Keys: Keys that open 1 – 4 doors, colloquially known as ‘Basic Keys’ or ‘Operating Keys’.  For example a residence hall key that opens 1 room. 

Medium Risk Keys: Keys that open 5 – 24 doors, colloquially known as ‘sub-master’ or sometimes ‘master’ keys.  For example a key that opens a suite of doors, or all the doors on an entire floor. 

High Risk Keys: Keys that open more than 25 doors, colloquially known as ‘master’ keys.  For example a key that opens all of the doors in an entire building.  This is the classification for keys that open many doors in several buildings (e.g., TELE-1).  Additionally this classification is used for keys that secure high value property or sensitive personal or financial information. 


Contact Phone Number Email Address
Facilities Services (202) 994-6700  [email protected]

Responsible University Official: Senior Associate Vice President for Operations
Responsible Office: Facilities Services

Last Reviewed: December 14, 2006


Non-compliance with this policy can be reported through this website.