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Temple student: I used Target gift card to get past security in 9 buildings

According to one Temple student, security at the university has become so lax anyone can walk in with nothing more than a Temple gift card.

At the beginning of the 2014 fall semester, Temple University expanded the zone patrolled by campus police after a female student was injured in a vicious brick attack.

But according to one student, the university has allowed security to become a bit more laid-back in the heart of campus.

Temple freshman Alyssa Mancuso says she began to notice some security guards on campus didn't seem to care if she showed her official OWLcard, which students are required to show to gain access to university facilities.

So Mancuso bought a Target gift card and tried to get into 13 major building on Temple's campus. In a post on the youth news site The Tab, she said she was expecting her day to end with "every guard busting me on the spot." But the freshman was surprised to find security so lax that she was able to walk right into nine buildings.

The guards, who are employed by AlliedBarton but work full time on Temple's campus, are supposed to verify a student's ID before allowing them into the facilities. But Mancuso wrote that both Weiss and Alter Halls were totally void of any security. She also claimed she was able to access the TECH Center, which requires students and faculty to swipe their card.

"I swiped right after another person, so the light on the card reader was still green which made it look like I'd swiped my OWLcard and gotten the OK to enter," Mancuso wrote. "It was exhilarating, but disappointing in hindsight."

Mancuso had fellow student Gail Vivar film her as she attempted to enter Gladfelter Hall. The video, shared on YouTube, shows two guards allowing her to enter without noticing she didn't have a Temple ID card. In fact, one guard appears to have her head down, and doesn't even ask the student to see her ID - even as she sits behind signs asking students to have their OWLcard out and ready to be checked.


"The safety of Temple's students, faculty and staff is our top priority, and we want to ensure campus facilities are secure for all who use them," Charles Leone, Temple's executive director of public safety, said in an email.

After watching the video, Leone said he immediately sent Campus Safety Services and AlliedBarton supervisors to security posts to instruct all guards to tighten up their enforcement of identification checks at their posts. According to Leone, some the guards involved have been severely disclipined.

Leone also noted he was having workers look into the issue involving swipe cards, and said he is working with Temple's security management team to look at long-term solutions, including the possibility of adding turnstile system.

All this is welcome news to Mancuso.

"I think that's an incredible step in the right direction," Mancuso said. "I had no goals walking into to writing this article other than to make people more aware, which would in turn hopefully make people more safe."